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 Elena Guro


Born:   January 10, 1877
Deceased:   May 6, 1913

Russian poetess, prose writer and artist.

      

Elena Guro, the only poetess in the “men’s” cubofuturistic movement, was unlike any of her contemporaries and left a bright mark in the history of Russian avant-garde.

Along with writing poetry and prose she was a gifted artist: having debuted as a book illustrator (for her own books later as well) she participated in avant-garde art exhibitions further on.

Her father was a lieutenant general, a high-ranking military man, the secretary to command staff of the Petersburg military district and guard troops under Prince Vladimir Aleksandrovich. Her maternal grandfather was the teacher and children's writer M. B. Chistyakov. Elena’s sister Yekaterina Nizen, participated in publications of futurists. 
 
Elena Guro learned and mastered painting in Ya. F. Tsionglinsky's studio, where she met her future husband, the musician and the avant-garde artist Mikhail Matyushin, one of the key figures of Russian futurism. In 1906 — 1907 Elena took painting classes from L. S. Bakst and V. Dobuzhinsky.
 
In 1909 she got her first book of short stories, verses and plays Street Organ published. Unfortunately, not all the copies were sold in her lifetime and the remaining copies went repeatedly on sale after her death. Those were only the most sophisticated readers, such as Alexey Remizov, Alexander Blok, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Lev Shestov, Velimir Khlebnikov, who could at once appreciate the offbeat talent of Elena Guro. Alexander Blok was especially interested in her creativity and personality and she illustrated his poems in the Breaking Waves almanac.
 
In 1908 — 1910 Elena Guro and Mikhail Matyushin joined the developing circle of Russian cubo-futurists (David Burliuk, Vasily Kamensky, Velimir Khlebnikov), who got together in the Matyushins’ house in Pesochnaya Street in St. Petersburg (nowadays the Museum of the Petersburg Avant-garde in Professor Popov Street). This is where the Zhuravl publishing house was founded and the first cubo-futurist collection The Cage of Judges was published in 1910. In 1910 — 1913 Elena Guro was also deeply engaged into painting and took an active part in exhibitions of The Union of Youth, and others.
In 1912 Elena Guro published her second collection Autumn Dream with the same-name play, some prose fragments and the author's illustrations. Her most well-known book Celestial Colts (1914), mostly made of poems but including diary fragments, was published posthumously. Elena Guro’s creativity got acclaim of most varied critics, including those with dislike of futurism (such as Vladislav Khodasevich, who opposed her to other futurists).
 
Elena Guro died of leukemia in her Finnish country house and was buried there. The futurists commemorated her with the collection of poetry The Three (1913; with poems by Velimir Khlebnikov, lexey Kruchyonykh and Elena Guro). Young Petersburg poets favored the artistic cult of Elena Guro in the 1910s. There was even a publishing house dedicated to her.


Tags: Elena Guro Russian Artists Russian Poets   








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