Natalia Goncharova Rabbi with Cat About 1912


Born 1881
Died 1962
Nationality Russian
Birth place Tula
Death place Paris

Goncharova was born near Tula in Russia. While studying in Moscow, she met fellow artist Mikhail Larionov who became her lifelong companion and encouraged her to concentrate on painting instead of sculpture. As a prominent figure in the Russian avant garde movement, she was an exponent of the 'Neo-Primitivism' style, which combined elements of contemporary French fauvist art with traditional Russian folk art. After settling permanently in Paris in 1917, Goncharova worked with Diaghilev's 'Ballets Russes', designing sets and costumes.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms


The term refers to cultural practices that challenge tradition through experimentation and innovation, and is used in the context of modern and particularly twentieth-century art. From the French for ‘vanguard’ or ‘advance guard’ it dates back to the Middle Ages and was strictly a military term referring to those on the front-line, closest to conflict.


Russian avant-garde movement invented by the artists Mikhail Larionov and his partner Natalia Goncharova. Influenced by Cubism and Futurism, the style was characterised by dynamically intersecting lines or rays.


A style that made an impact in the arts in the 1920s, particularly in Germany. Expressionists abandoned realistic, accurate representations in favour of exaggerations and distortions of line and colour that were intended to carry far greater emotional impact.


The deliberate adoption by trained artist of the styles and techniques of those operating outside mainstream art practice.

Folk Art

Folk art is a broad term encompassing a variety of styles, referring generally to the fine and applied arts of untrained artists working outside the academic mainstream. The concept of Folk Art originates from the nineteenth century, carrying a certain nostalgia for pre-industrialised society, and was integrated into avant-garde styles by many artists at the turn of the century.