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Avant-garde Artists as Collectors of Arts

ll the World’s a Stage is the name of an exhibition being held in the graphics section of the Tretyakov Gallery. It presents a private collection of engravings that used to belong to two of the most avant-garde Russian artists of the twentieth century – Mikhail Larionov and Natalya Goncharova. The engravings were donated to the museum at the end of the 1980s. Larionov’s and Goncharova’s own masterpieces are frequently shown at major exhibitions in Moscow and in many other museums abroad.

But this time, the curators are displaying those things the couple collected and which served as inspirations for their own art. Mikhail Larionov, a painter who became attached to Impressionism, Primitivism and Rayonism (near-abstract art presented by Larionov himself in 1913), in the 1910s worked with the ballet-producer Sergei Diaghilev on the Ballets Russes.

His wife, whose great-aunt was Natalya Pushkina (Goncharova by birth), the poet’s wife, played a key role in the avant-garde movement in pre- Soviet Russia, being an absolute equal to her husband. As provocative as any Futurists’ actions in the 1910s, their lectures, exhibitions,

March 1 – until September
Tretyakov Gallery
Graphics section
10, Lavrushinsky lane
Open: 10:00-19:00
except Monday

illustrations yet proved them as leaders of this movement in Moscow. Like her husband, Goncharova also worked on ballet sets, first in Geneva and later in Paris where she joined Diaghilev’s team.

The exhibits at the current exhibition include engravings and lithographs of the 17th-20th centuries from Europe and Asia, on the history of costume, theatre billboards, sports, circus and dance. Some of these, like Gallo Gallina’s Greek Dance from Giulio Ferrario’s encyclopedia on history published in Milano in 1816, or Utagawa Toyokuni’s fine woodcuts of the Edo epoch, are real rarities and are surely worth seeing.

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