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 Aleksandra Exter

Born:   6 January 1882
Deceased:   17 March 1949

Russian-French avant-garde artist


Aleksandra Exter (nee Grigorovich) was born in Belostok town of the Grodno Province on January 6, 1882. She studied in Saint Olga classical school in Kiev. From 1901 she attended lectures in the Kiev Art School as an auditor, and from 1906 was its regular student. In 1903 Aleksandra got married to Nicolai Exter. The artistic couple constantly received writers and artists as guests in their house.

In 1907 Aleksandra Exter took a trip to Paris and attended the La Grand Chomier Academy there. The travel abroad had a huge impact on her development as an artist. She got acquainted with Max Jacob, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Guillaume Apollinaire. Afterwards Aleksandra Exter often worked in her art studio that she rented in Paris.  

The influence of the French art was first of all expressed in her early impressionistic works, such as Three Female Figures, Vase and Flowers Still Life, Night City, Antique Landscape, etc. Later she turned to paintings in the spirit of Pointillism and Van Gogh's manner. Aleksandra Exter was attracted to Cubism too, though she always declined the idea of dividing a composition into elementary volumes.
From 1908 to 1914 Aleksandra Exter travelled a lot and visited Switzerland and Italy. She regularly participated in art exhibitions and joined the Russian art associations Jack of Diamonds and the Union of Youth. At the same time her works were displayed abroad as well. 
Aleksandra Exter worked a lot on non-objective paintings, painted lamp shades, screens, table cloths, scarves and dresses. The artist designed stage productions at the Moscow Camera Theater (Romeo and Juliette, Salome, and Famira Kifared). She took especially creative approach to stage design, aiming at the harmony of scenery and costumes.
Before the revolution Aleksandra Exter was actively engaged in teaching. She gave classes at the Odessa Children's Art School, in her art studio in Kiev, and then in the Higher Art and Technical Studios (Vkhutemas). Among her students there were I.M. Rabinovich, I.I. Nivinsky, and A.G. Tyshler who become famous artists further on. After the revolution she got actively engaged in extensive public work.
In 1924 Aleksandra Exter moved to Italy and never returned home any more. During her emigration the artist was into teaching, stage design and decorative art.

Tags: Aleksandra Exter Russian painters    

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