Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova (Russian, 1881-1962)
Set Design for Le Coq d'Or
Unsigned, inscribed "1914" on the verso.
Gouache on paper mounted to canvas, 22 x 37 in. (55.8 x 93.9 cm), unframed.
Condition: Small area of paint abrasion, discoloration, staining.
Provenance: Tajan, Paris, to the current owner.
Literature: The painting discussed and reproduced in Anthony Parton, Goncharova: The Art and Design of Natalia Goncharova, (Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 2010), p. 255.
N. B. Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova was a leading member of the Russian avant-garde. At the beginning of the 20th century she - together with members of the group Donkey's Tail that included Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Shevchenko, and Vladimir Tatlin - developed a modernist style that combined bold colors, expressive lines, and a penchant for folk subject matter. Goncharova's art advanced quickly and, in the years just prior to World War One, she created Futurist inspired abstract paintings called Rayism (Luchizm). She was unbound by the flat, two-dimensional canvas surface, and extended her creative impulse to three-dimensional set designs when she was commissioned by Serge Diaghilev, famous impresario and founder of the Ballet Russes, to create the stage and costumes for his forthcoming 1914 production of Rimsky-Korsakov's Le coq d'or. The 1914 production was at the Paris Opera and Goncharova jumped at the chance to visit Paris.
Le coq d'or sets and costumes evoke both the medieval Russia of Tsar Dodon and the oriental exoticism of the Queen of Shemakha. This painting, in particular, depicts the Tsar's palace. Goncharova referenced the architectural forms of the late 19th century Russian Nationalist Revival. She brightened the stage with colorful, stylized ornamentation that incorporated elements from the Russian folk art tradition. Her contribution to Le coq d'or made Goncharova successful overnight and she went on to create many other stage and costume designs. Except a brief return to Moscow during the War, Goncharova settled in Paris.
Abrasion of paint center left side, measures approximately 1 cm.
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