Varvara Stepanova

Born: 1894, Kovno
Died: 1958, Moscow

Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer, applied artist, engraver, poetess. Studied at the Kazan School of Art (1910–13), studios of Ilya Mashkov and Konstantin Juon (1913–14) and the Stroganov School of Art and Industry (1913–14). Married Alexander Rodchenko and leased an apartment in a tenement block in Moscow owned by Wassily Kandinsky (mid-1910s). Worked as an accountant and secretary in a factory (1915–17). Wrote experimental visual poetry (from 1917) and illustrated Alexei Kruchenykh’s book Gly-gly (1919). Worked for IZO Narkompros (1919–22) and the Institute of Artistic Culture (1920–23). Designed the sets and costumes for Vsyevolod Meyerhold’s production of Alexander Sukhovo-Kobylin’s play The Death of Tarelkin at the Moscow Art Theatre (1922) and the Soviet film Alienation (1926). Worked alongside Alexander Rodchenko and Lyubov Popova at the First State Textile Mill (1923–25) and taught textile design at the VKhUTEMAS/VKhUTEIN in Moscow (1924–25). Worked for such magazines as Kinophot (1922), LEF and New LEF (1923–27), Soviet Cinema, Modern Architecture, Book and Revolution (1926–32) and Soviet Woman (1945–46). Evacuated to Perm (1941–42). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1914). Contributed to Moscow Salon (1914), First Exhibition of Paintings of the Trade Union of Artists (1918), V and X State Exhibitions (1919), 5 x 5 = 25 (1921) and Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris (1925).

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