Nadezhda Udaltsova


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Russian painter, born in Orel. Her family moved to Moscow in 1892. In 1908 she visited the Shchukin collection and in 1912 went to Paris with her friend Liubov Popova, studying with Henri Le Fauconnier, Jean Metzinger, and André Dunoyer de Segonzac. On her return to Moscow she worked in the studio of Tatlin and took part in the Knave of Diamonds exhibition in 1914. Her paintings of this period—the best known is At the Piano (1914, Yale University Art Gallery)—were strongly influenced by Cubism, especially in the overlapping planes and use of stencilled letters. For Udaltsova, Cubism was closely linked with the environment of Paris. She wrote to Olga Rozanova about ‘the cubes of its houses and the interweavings of its viaducts, with its locomotive smoke trails, airborne planes and dirigibles’ and how ‘the architecture of the houses with their ochre and silver tones found their embodiment in the Cubist constructions of Picasso’. After 1916 she began describing herself as a Suprematist rather than a Futurist and became committed to the primacy of painting. In 1916, at the exhibition ‘The Store’, she and Popova put up a poster reading ‘Room for Professional Painters’. This was certainly a rebuke to her one‐time colleague Tatlin, who had abandoned painting for construction. Her work became increasingly abstract, close in style to that of Malevich. During the 1920s she taught textile design. Her work was seen outside Russia in Berlin in 1922 and at the Venice Biennale in 1924. With the rise of Socialist Realism her work was criticized for ‘*formalist tendencies’.

Her husband, Alexander Drevin (1886–1938), was also a painter and was shot in Stalin's purges.

Further Reading

V. Rakitin, ‘Nadezhda Udaltsova’, in J. Bowlt and M. Drutt (eds.), Amazons of the Avant‐garde (1999)

Subjects: Art.

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