Natalia Goncharova

Russia, b.1881, d.1962

Costume Espagnol (Spanish Costume)

  • 1919
  • Gouache au pochoir print
  • Gift of Anita Muling, 1979
  • 408 x 245mm
  • 80/12

Russian avant-garde painter Natalia Goncharova settled in Paris with her artistic partner Mikhail Larionov in 1918. The following year they produced L’Art Décoratif Théâtral Moderne (Modern Theatrical Decorative Art), a folio of sixteen lithographs and pochoir (stencil) prints including this work, featuring many costume designs and celebrating their involvement with Serge Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes. Natalia was first drawn to the Spanish theme while with the company in Spain in 1916, designing costumes for Diaghilev’s Rhapsodie Espagnole, a production that was never staged.

(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • 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.

  • I see red, 5 December 2007 - 23 November 2008

    Standing tall, the Spanish dancer concentrates, then slowly moves and turns her body like a flickering flame. In hot colours, bold flowers appear then disappear beneath layers of cloth in deep red and fuchsia pink.

    This striking stencil print of a Spanish woman was made in Paris in 1919 by Russian artist Natalia Goncharova as part of a series of prints produced with her partner Mikhail Larionov as stage costume designs. (Ken Hall, 2007)