Liubov Sergeyevna Popova was born April 24, 1889 near
Moscow. She grew up in an enlightened merchant family
with a strong interest in art, especially Italian
Renaissance painting. At eleven years old she began art
lessons at home and in 1907 she studied art with S.
Zhukovskiy. Then in 1908 - 1909 she attended the art
school of Konstantin Yuon and Ivan Dudin.
Popova traveled widely to investigate and learn from
diverse styles of painting, but it was the ancient
Russian Icons and 15th and 16th century Italian
painters, Giotto and others which at first interested
her the most.
1909 Travels to Kiev.
1910 Then to Pskov and Novgorod.
1911 Other ancient Russian cities including St.
Petersburg to study icons.
1912 Works in Moscow studio known as the Tower with Ivan
Aksenov, Vladimir Tatlin. Visits Sergei Shchukin's
collection of modern French paintings.
1912-13 Studied art in Paris with Nadezhda Udaltsova.
1913 Meets Alexander Archipenko and Ossip Zadkine.
Returns to Russia and works with Tatlin, Udaltsova and
1914 Travels in France and Italy at the development of
cubism and futurism.
Through a synthesis if disparate tendencies Popova
worked towards the culminating painterly arcitectonics.
Exploring firstly an impressionist style, by 1913, in
Composition with Figures, she is experimenting with the
particularly Russian development of Cubo-Futurism; a
fusion of two equal influences from France and Italy. In
the painting The Violin of 1914 the development from
cubism towards the painterly architectonics of 1917-18
is clearly visible. Before joining the Supremus group
her paintings , the architectonic series have defined
their own artistic trajectory, quite different to that
of Malevich, Rozanova, Tatlin and Mondrian in abstract
form. The canvas surface is an energy field of
overlapping and intersecting angular planes in a
constant state of potential release. At the same time
the elements are held in a balanced and proportioned
whole as if linking the compositions of the classical
past to the future. By 1918 colour is used as an iconic
focus; the bright colour at the centre drawing the outer
From 1921-24 Popova became active in Constructivist
projects: Stage designs; Vsevolod Meierkhold's
production of Fernand Crommeldynck's The Magnanamous
Cuckold, 1922; Teaching: Spacial Force Constructions
were used as the basis of an art teaching theory ;
Typography of books, production art and textile design.
Popova died in Moscow on May 25, 1924 at age 35 when she
contracted scarlet fever. A large exhibition of her work
opened in Moscow 21 December 1924.