Natalia Goncharova

Russia, b.1881, d.1962

'Une Espagnole' Illustrations du ‘Simoun' de Parnack

  • Presented by Anita Muling, 1979
  • Lithograph
  • 200 x 147mm
  • 80/05
  • 1919

This print is from the folio L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne (Modern Theatrical Decorative Art) produced in Paris in 1919 by leading European avant-garde artists Natal’ya Goncharova (1881–1962) and Mikhail Larionov (1881–1964). Including examples of the artists’ work in lithography and pochoir (stencil) printing, the folio highlights not only their interest in stage and costume design, but also their desire to combine the forms of cubism with the representation of movement. In 1912 Larionov initiated rayonism, an artistic genre in which he investigated the effect of light rays fracturing and reflecting off the surface of objects. The prints included in L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne, with their rich decorative patterns, vibrant colours and abstract forms, highlight these concerns.

Goncharova and Larionov first met in 1898 as students at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and remained lifelong companions. Both artists were founding members of leading Russian avant-garde movements, including the Donkey’s Tail (1912), and worked with the renowned founder of Ballets Russes, Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929), from 1914. In 1919 they relocated to Paris, where they became prominent figures in the city’s artistic, dance and literary circles. Today they are widely regarded as the foremost Russian artists of the twentieth century.

L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne was presented to the Gallery by Anita Muling in 1979.

Related

Exhibition
In Modern Times

In Modern Times

Exploring the expanding impact of cubism through works in the collection.

Notes
Tracking Louise Henderson

Tracking Louise Henderson

I recently wrote about Louise Henderson's painting Addington Workshops (1930) for the Press, and wanted to locate the place in which she stood to make the sketch for the work. It's a complex image and I wanted to understand more about its internal space as well as its history, but the workshops were demolished twenty years ago.

Collection
The Farmhouse in Cornwall
Louise Henderson The Farmhouse in Cornwall

Cubism came late to New Zealand art, some forty years after its heyday in Europe. In the 1940s and 1950s, it represented the cutting edge of progressive painting in this part of the world. Louise Henderson was one of its primary exponents. Many of her cubist compositions were based on buildings set in landscapes. Her interest in architectural forms, as well as the internal geometries of painting, had been acquired earlier, during the years she spent working in Christchurch and Wellington. ‘Here was a classical intellectual painter working on a planned line of development,’ wrote fellow artist Janet Paul on seeing a survey of Henderson’s work in 1954. ‘A painter whose concentration on form does not obscure a fine use of colour and who can use cubism not as a “fag end” to be worked out, but as a pertinent method to convey her own most individual perception and emotion.’

(March 2018)

Collection
Expulsion
A. Lois White Expulsion

Lois White was a prominent, individualistic voice in New Zealand painting in the 1930s and 1940s, who attracted attention with her modernistic, art-deco style figure compositions.

A student at Elam School of Fine of Arts in Auckland in the 1920s, White also taught there for many years from 1928. Equally interested in the old masters as in the cubists and other modern painters, she admitted looking at “anything that I could get my eyes and brain working on […] I was very taken with all the figure compositions of Botticelli.”

Such varied sources are evident in her dramatic depiction of Adam and Eve, the first humans in the biblical account of the creation of the world. Painted at the start of World War II, it may be seen as an allegorical reflection on the human condition. (In Modern Times, 18 December 2015 – 11 September 2016)

Collection
Painting (City Within)
Ted Bracey Painting (City Within)

Ted Bracey painted this jazzily modernistic work while in his final diploma year in 1959 at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts. Echoing the early analytical cubist paintings of Georges Braque, it also shows the influence of Paul Klee and Lyonel Feininger, all of whom Bracey had studied, even if only through reproductions. The ongoing possibilities of cubism were also being drawn out at this time by his peers and more established New Zealand painters including Louise Henderson and Colin McCahon.

Bracey, then twenty-three, exhibited this work in the 1959 Group exhibition, after which it nearly became the first purely abstract painting to enter the city’s art collection. Its modernity, however, proved a stumbling block when city councillors controversially overruled the Gallery’s art advisory committee recommendation to buy it. The painting was purchased directly from Bracey in 2002, shortly after his retirement as head of the School of Fine Arts. (In Modern Times, 18 December 2015 – 11 September 2016)

Collection
Phoenician Ruins
Frances Hodgkins Phoenician Ruins

“I am very interested in the new movement as all artists must be,” declared the Dunedin-born, Paris-based Frances Hodgkins to a Sydney reporter in 1913, when questioned about the latest developments in European art. To an Adelaide reporter she mused: “What the final result will be I cannot say. The futurists think it will end in pure abstraction, but that is so far ahead that one cannot view it with anything like seriousness.”

By the 1930s Hodgkins was herself riding the wave of modernism: while she had maintained a flexible grip on figurative representation throughout her career, her work had become increasingly abstract. This dynamic, cubist-inspired composition in gouache, a thick opaque paint, is believed to have been painted in Tossa de Mar, an ancient fishing village on the Costa Brava in Spain, where she set up a studio for several months in 1935. By this time, Hodgkins’ home base was in England, where she had established a significant reputation. (In Modern Times, 18 December 2015 – 11 September 2016)

Collection
Mikhail Fyodorovich Larionov, Natalia Goncharova Des Fleurs

This print is from the folio L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne (Modern Theatrical Decorative Art) produced in Paris in 1919 by leading European avant-garde artists Natal’ya Goncharova (1881–1962) and Mikhail Larionov (1881–1964). Including examples of the artists’ work in lithography and pochoir (stencil) printing, the folio highlights not only their interest in stage and costume design, but also their desire to combine the forms of cubism with the representation of movement. In 1912 Larionov initiated rayonism, an artistic genre in which he investigated the effect of light rays fracturing and reflecting off the surface of objects. The prints included in L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne, with their rich decorative patterns, vibrant colours and abstract forms, highlight these concerns.

Goncharova and Larionov first met in 1898 as students at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and remained lifelong companions. Both artists were founding members of leading Russian avant-garde movements, including the Donkey’s Tail (1912), and worked with the renowned founder of Ballets Russes, Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929), from 1914. In 1919 they relocated to Paris, where they became prominent figures in the city’s artistic, dance and literary circles. Today they are widely regarded as the foremost Russian artists of the twentieth century.

L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne was presented to the Gallery by Anita Muling in 1979.

Collection
Mikhail Fyodorovich Larionov "Un Grime" Musique de Ravel (An Actor)

This print is from the folio L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne (Modern Theatrical Decorative Art) produced in Paris in 1919 by leading European avant-garde artists Natal’ya Goncharova (1881–1962) and Mikhail Larionov (1881–1964). Including examples of the artists’ work in lithography and pochoir (stencil) printing, the folio highlights not only their interest in stage and costume design, but also their desire to combine the forms of cubism with the representation of movement. In 1912 Larionov initiated rayonism, an artistic genre in which he investigated the effect of light rays fracturing and reflecting off the surface of objects. The prints included in L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne, with their rich decorative patterns, vibrant colours and abstract forms, highlight these concerns.

Goncharova and Larionov first met in 1898 as students at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and remained lifelong companions. Both artists were founding members of leading Russian avant-garde movements, including the Donkey’s Tail (1912), and worked with the renowned founder of Ballets Russes, Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929), from 1914. In 1919 they relocated to Paris, where they became prominent figures in the city’s artistic, dance and literary circles. Today they are widely regarded as the foremost Russian artists of the twentieth century.

L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne was presented to the Gallery by Anita Muling in 1979.

Collection
Still Life
John Weeks Still Life

This work is from the Canterbury Public Library’s collection of original art works. This collection was started by Ron O’Reilly (1914-1982), who was appointed City Librarian in 1951. He had a keen interest in philosophy, literature and New Zealand art and developed personal friendships with many artists including Doris Lusk, Olivia Spencer Bower, Colin McCahon and Toss Woollaston. During his time in Christchurch he was deeply involved in the local art scene. He arranged many exhibitions in the library one such being McCahon’s The Wake in 1959. He liaised with other galleries in arranging the loans of paintings for other exhibitions, and for a period was art critic for the Press and picture buyer for the CSA Gallery. In 1953 the Library started its hire service of framed art prints, a selection of 80 reproductions which was confined to works by artists of importance in the history of painting, both old and modern masters. Shortly afterwards the Library’s collection was augmented by two substantial gifts, one from the Redfern Gallery, London of 34 original lithographs by British artists and the other, 39 prints from French cultural funds. In 1955 the City Council approved extension of the picture loan service to include original art works by local artists. The maximum purchase price was to be 19 guineas and because of this limitation the artists were often persuaded to sell their work at reduced prices. The prospect of having one’ s work on such public display was also an inducement to the artist to sell at a reasonable price. By 1960, 50 original works had been acquired. The paintings were selected by Ron O’Reilly at exhibitions, galleries and by visiting the artists in their homes.

In 1981, when purchasing ceased, the collection consisted of 297 works. 155 of these were gifted to the Robert McDougall Art Gallery in 2001. Adapted from “Library Treasures: New Zealand art works from the collection of the Canterbury Public Library, exhibited at the CSA Gallery, 9 February to 5 March 1989”.

Collection
Dutch Houses
Dorrit Black Dutch Houses

Adelaide-born Dorrit Black was at the forefront of bringing modern art to Australia after returning from Europe in 1929. This lively, cubist-inspired linocut shows the impact of her European studies, which included three months in 1927 at the Grosvenor School of Art in London with printmaker Claude Flight, and classes in Paris with the cubist painters André Lhote and Albert Gleizes from 1927–28.

Black was based in Sydney from 1930. Her first solo exhibition that year included Australia’s first cubist landscape painting, The Bridge, portraying the Sydney Harbour Bridge being constructed. In 1931, she opened the Modern Art Centre in Sydney, and became the first woman to establish a gallery in Australia. Black returned to Adelaide in 1935, and remained influential, including through her teaching at the South Australian School of Art.

(In Modern Times, 18 December 2015 – 11 September 2016)

Collection
Group Figure Study
John Weeks Group Figure Study

John Weeks was regarded as New Zealand's leading exponent of modern painting for a considerable period. A teacher at the Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland from 1930–54 he played an important role in connecting younger artists to the major developments in modern art of the early twentieth century. His reputation was enhanced by having studied and worked abroad for many years.

An ambulance medical corps officer in Britain and France during World War I, he studied art in Edinburgh from 1923, then in Paris at the studio of the cubist painter André Lhote from 1925, where he returned in 1928 after extended painting sojourns in Italy, North Africa and the South of France. (In Modern Times, 18 December 2015 – 11 September 2016)

Collection
Lyonel Feininger Gelbe Dorfkirche, 3

The village church theme was a favourite of Lyonel Feininger’s and dates from his earliest cubist printmaking. The Yellow Church 3 was printed in an edition of 130. Feininger always had an interest in architecture and he worked in a cubist style, which suited his sharp edged architectural themes. Born in New York, in 1887 Feininger was sent to study music in Germany. He very soon changed to study drawing at the Akademie der Kunste in Berlin and the Académie Colarossi, Paris. In the mid-1890s Feininger returned to Berlin, where he became a prominent illustrator for German satirical magazines. He later turned to painting and in 1919 was appointed the first master of the Bauhaus, the new School of Art of the Weimar Republic. Feininger contributed woodblock prints to Bauhaus publications, including the cover for the first manifesto. In 1937 he left Germany for the United States, eventually settling in New York. Late in his career Feininger was elected president of the Federation of American Painters and Sculptors.

Collection
Turkish Bath
Eileen Mayo Turkish Bath

Eileen Mayo was invited to exhibit in the Second Exhibition of British Lino-Cuts at the Redfern Gallery in London in 1930 without having yet learned the technique. A talented young designer, illustrator and printmaker who had studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and the Central School of Arts and Crafts, she received the invitation from Claude Flight, the linocut’s principal champion. Mayo met Flight, who taught in London at the Grosvenor School of Art, while working there in 1929 as a life-class model; she was reportedly instructed by him on linocut technique over the telephone.

Shown in the 1930 exhibition, Turkish Bath in its flattened space and use of decorative pattern displays the influence of the emerging art deco style, as promoted by Flight alongside futurism and cubism. Mayo moved to Australia in 1952 and ten years later to New Zealand, where she established a reputation as a significant printmaker and teacher. (In Modern Times, 18 December 2015 – 11 September 2016)

Collection
Wald Kirche, 2
Lyonel Feininger Wald Kirche, 2

The American-born artist Lyonel Feininger had been living in Europe, mainly in Germany, since 1887. He visited Paris in 1911 while exhibiting work at the Salon des Indépendents, where the cubists were exhibiting their discoveries for the first time. Writing to a friend in 1913 from Berlin, Feininger described the moment: “In that Spring I had gone to Paris for two weeks and found the art world agog with Cubism – a thing I had never heard even mentioned before, but which I had already, entirely intuitively, striven after for years.”

Feininger’s artistic development from this point led to an invitation in 1919 from the German architect Walter Gropius to become the first master at the Bauhaus,a new school of art at Weimar. He produced many woodblock prints for their publications, including a futurist-inspired cover for their first manifesto, featuring a cathedral in a forest, a theme to which he often returned. (In Modern Times, 18 December 2015 – 11 September 2016)

Collection
An Arrangement in Colour
John Weeks An Arrangement in Colour

The Auckland painter John Weeks returned to New Zealand in 1929 after seven years abroad, having painted and travelled in Europe and North Africa, and studied in the Paris studio of the cubist painter André Lhote.

Appointed as a teacher at the Elam School of Fine Arts in 1930, Weeks found New Zealand a virtual clean slate in relation to modern art, for which he became a pragmatic, steadfast champion. Versatile in his output, he painted mildly abstracted landscapes and figure studies that recalled the lessons of Paul Cézanne. From about 1945 onwards, he also began exhibiting more boldly abstract compositions such as these, echoing the earliest years of cubism and the paintings of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.

(In Modern Times, 18 December 2015 – 11 September 2016)

Collection
Abstract Design
Frank Weitzel Abstract Design

A New Zealand-born artist of German parentage, Frank Weitzel pursued art studies in San Francisco, New York and Munich before moving in 1928 to Sydney in his early twenties. There he established a reputation within modernist circles with his sculpture and textile designs, exhibiting alongside other well-travelled artists including Dorrit Black, Grace Cossington Smith, Roy de Maistre and Roland Wakelin.

Weitzel moved to London in 1931, attracting critical attention while showing with artists such as Jacob Epstein, Paul Nash, John Nash and the printmaker Claude Flight, whose cubist- and futurist-influenced linocuts impacted his new work. Taking on sculpture commissions, he also designed posters for Shell and the London Underground, and planned to exhibit in Berlin, San Francisco and London. His life was tragically cut short, however, in 1932 by tetanus poisoning.

At the height of his promise, he was just 26. (In Modern Times, 18 December 2015 – 11 September 2016)

Notes

L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne

A new exhibition of stage and costume designs by Russian avant-garde artists Natal'ya Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov opens this month.