Alexandra Schekatikhina-Pototskaya

Born: 1892, Alexandrovsk (Ekaterinoslav Province)
Died: 1967, Leningrad

Porcelain artist, theatrical designer, graphic artist, illustrator, painter. Born Alexandra Schekatikhina in the town of Alexandrovsk in the Ukraine (1892). Graduated from grammar school in Alexandrovsk (1908) and moved to St Petersburg (1908). Studied under Jan Ciagli?skjNicholas Roerich and Ivan Bilibin at the School of Drawing of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (1908–13) and under Maurice Denis, Félix Valloton and Paul Sérusier at the Académie Ranson in Paris (1913). Travelled across north Russia, studying old wooden architecture and traditional folk art (1910), visited Greece, Italy and France (1913). Helped Nicholas Roerich to decorate the Church of the Holy Spirit at Talashkino (1910–12) and to design the costumes for Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Le Sacre du printemps during Sergei Diaghilev’s Saisons Russes at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris (1913). Married lawyer Nikolai Pototsky (1915), widowed (1920). Designed the sets and costumes for productions of Alexander Ostrovsky’s play The Snow Maiden at the Russian Theatre of Drama in Petrograd (1916), Alexander Serov’s opera Rogneda for the Zimin Opera in Moscow (1916), Anton Rubinstein’s opera The Demon for the Zimin Opera in Moscow (1919) and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Sadko at the People’s House in Petrograd (1920). Sculpted models and painted works at the State Porcelain Factory (1918–23). Member of the World of Art (1922). Emigrated after being sent to Germany to work at the Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur in Berlin (1923). Moved to Egypt (1923) and married Ivan Bilibin (1923). Lived in Cairo (1923) and Alexandria (1924–25), where she employed Egyptian themes in works of porcelain and designed the costumes for performances of Mikhail Fokine’s ballet The Dying Swan by the Anna Pavlova Ballet Company (1923–25). Travelled with her husband across Syria and Palestine (1924) and Upper Egypt and Abyssinia (1925). Moved to Paris (1925), where she lived at 25 Boulevard Pasteur and worked for the porcelain factories in Sèvres and Limoges (1925–36). Illustrated Nikolai Gogol’s Taras Bulba (1927) and Carlo Collodi’s Le avventure di Pinocchio (1933). Returned to Leningrad with her husband (1936). Worked under Nikolai Suetin at the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory (1936–53) and designed the sets and costumes for a performance of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan at the Leningrad Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet marking the centenary of the death of Alexander Pushkin (1937). Attacked in the Evening Leningrad newspaper (1951). Died in Leningrad and buried at the Bolshaya Okhta Cemetery (1967). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1915). Contributed to the exhibitions of the World of Art (1915–22), First State Free Exhibition of Works of Art (1919), House of Arts (1921), Community of Artists (1922), Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris (1925), Salon d’Automne (1926–34), World of Art (Selected Artists) at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris (1927), Terza Mostra Internazionale delle Arti Decorative in Monza (1927), Salon des Tuileries (1931), Exhibition of Works of Leningrad Artists in Moscow (1942), Exhibition of Works of Leningrad Artists in Industry and Decorative-Applied Art (1950), Exhibition of Folk, Applied and Decorative Art of the RSFSR at the Vladimir Lenin Library in Moscow (1956–57) and one-woman shows in Paris (1926), Amsterdam (1929) and Leningrad (1955, 1972).

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