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Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova
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Negaevo, Tula Prov., Russia
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Innovative painter, sculptor, and stage designer who was important as a founder, with Mikhail Larionov (her husband and life-long collaborator), of Rayonism (c. 1910) and as a designer for the Ballets Russes. The daughter of an aristocratic family (great grand-daughter of Alexander Pushkin), Goncharova studied painting and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Moscow. Pupil of Paul Trubetskoy. After an early preoccupation with sculpture (which she began to exhibit in 1900) she began to paint seriously (1904), experimenting with the Cubist and Futurist styles. Goncharova and Larionov conceived of Rayonism as a synthesis of these movements. Rayonism sought to portray the spatial qualities of reflected light in two dimensions. In 1912 Goncharova took part in Roger Fry's Postimpressionist exhibition (London) and in the second exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) (Munich). Goncharova earned a lofty reputation in Moscow for her scenery and costume designs for the Kamerny Theatre. After she and Larionov moved to Paris in 1914 she became a designer for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Her vibrant, Byzantine-inspired designs for the ballet "Coq d'Or" are especially notable.