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Lyubov Popova

Russian Artist, Painter and Designer

Lyubov Popova Photo
Movements and Styles: Cubism, Futurism

Born: April 24, 1889 - Ivanovskoe, Russia

Died: May 25, 1924 - Moscow, The Soviet Union

"Most important of all was the spirit of creative progress, of renewal and inquiry"

Summary of Lyubov Popova

Lyubov Popova was a radical multimedia artist and designer, who was an active Communist in the 1917 Russian Revolution and the years that followed. She also worked at a time when there were extremely few women artists respected by art institutions or schools, or even in the revolution. Popova travelled Europe and brought a myriad of modern influences to Russian art, in particular Cubism and Futurism - movements focused on multiplicity in the service of showing several angles of an object simultaneously, and demonstrating movement.

Later in her career, she moved to complete abstraction and simplified geometric forms alongside her Suprematist comrades, who wanted to make art in keeping with the industrial zeal of the revolution, and to move away from illusionism and elitism. At this time she also started to make textiles, theatre sets and design work, expanding the meaning and uses of art into broader society. Popova died young, but in her short life had a prolific and varied career and demonstrated that art could have an important part in revolutionary politics and post-capitalist ideas.

Key Ideas

Lyubov Popova was extremely interested in dynamism, or, representing movement in art, a problem at the center of many artistic movements, and the focus of many individual artists' lives. At the start of her career, this took the form of Futurist-style paintings showing movement through visual repetitions. Later, she would design theatre sets that moved on huge cogs; paintings with warring colors that fought to escape the picture plane, and repetitive textiles suggesting optical illusions.
Like her Suprematist comrades in the revolution, she believed that art should reflect the industrial, egalitarian future, and this meant making work that echoed the geometry and efficiency of machines, as well as moving into a pure abstraction unfettered by elitist ideas of skill, or "natural talent", common to ideas of artistic genius.
She moved away from painting to follow her belief that a revolutionary art should be practical, accessible, and reproducible. She designed stage sets, publication covers, and textiles, and her work is instantly recognizable as emblematic of the (albeit brief) revolutionary hope and fervor of Russian art at the time.
Lyubov Popova Photo

Lyubov Popova was born in Ivanovskoe, a district on the outskirts of Moscow, to an affluent family in 1889. Her father, Sergei Maximovich Popov, a successful textile merchant, and her mother, Lyubov Vasilievna Zubova, were both keen patrons of the arts and encouraged Popova's interest in art.

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