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b. 1889, near Moscow; d. 1924, Moscow
Liubov Popova was born April 24, 1889, near Moscow. After graduating from the Arseniev Gymnasium, she studied art with Stanislav Zhukovsky in 1907 and with Konstantin Yuon and Ivan Dudin in 1908. In the course of travels from 1909 to 1911, she saw Mikhail Vrubel’s work in Kiev, ancient Russian churches and icons in Pskov and Novgorod, and early Renaissance art in Italy. In 1912, Popova worked at the Tower, a Moscow studio, with Vladimir Tatlin and other artists. That winter, she visited Paris, where she studied under Henri Le Fauconnier, Jean Metzinger, and André Dunoyer de Segonzac at La Palette. In 1913, Popova returned to Russia, but the following year she journeyed again to France and to Italy, where she gained familiarity with Futurism.
In her work of 1912 to 1915, Popova was concerned with Cubist form and the representation of movement; after 1915, her nonrepresentational style revealed the influence of icon painting. She participated in many exhibitions of advanced art in Russia during this period: the Jack of Diamonds shows of 1914 and 1916 in Moscow; Tramway V: First Futurist Exhibition of Paintings and 0.10: The Last Futurist Exhibition, both in 1915 in St. Petersburg; The Store in 1916, Fifth State Exhibition: From Impressionism to Nonobjective Art in 1918–19, and Tenth State Exhibition: Non-Objective Creativity and Suprematism in 1919, all in Moscow. In 1916, Popova joined the Supremus group, which was organized by Kazimir Malevich. She taught at Svomas and Vkhutemas from 1918 onward and was a member of Inkhuk from 1920 to 1923.
The artist participated in the 5 x 5 = 25 exhibition in Moscow in 1921 and in the Erste russische Kunstausstellung, held under the auspices of the Russian government at the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin in 1922. In 1921, Popova turned away from studio painting to execute utilitarian Productivist art: she designed textiles, dresses, books, porcelain, costumes, and theater sets (the latter for Vsevolod Meierkhold’s productions of Fernand Crommelynk’s The Magnanimous Cuckold, 1922, and Serge Tretiakov’s Earth on End, 1923). Popova died May 25, 1924, in Moscow.