The avant-garde was feminine! At least, that was the case in Russia before and after the Revolution of 1917. A great number of Russian artists were convinced that their work could contribute to a fair and classless society. In comparison to other avant-garde movements, it is conspicuous just how many women were involved in this movement in Russia. They stood on an equal footing with their male colleagues and collaborated with them in a self-confident manner. Without the powerful vision of figures such as Aleksandra Ekster, Natalia Goncharova and others, the avant-garde movements structured around Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich or Vladimir Tatlin would never have been able to have such an extraordinary impact.
The exhibition illustrates the central role of female artists in Russia in the early twentieth century. Many of the works on display are being presented in the Netherlands for the very first time.
The Russian avant-garde expressed itself in very diverse styles: from figurative neo-primitivism to abstract compositions based on cubo-futurism, suprematism or constructivism. It was primarily female artists such as Lyubov Popova and Varvara Stepanova who breached the boundaries between art, theatre, applied art and industry.
Revolutionary Women - Russia 1907-1934 draws attention to these important Russian avant-garde artists, with paintings by Aleksandra Ekster, Sofia Dymshits-Tolstaya, Natalia Goncharova, Anna Kagan, Anna Leporskaya, Elena Liessner-Blomberg, Lyubov Popova, Olga Rozanova, Antonina Sofronova, Varvara Stepanova, Nadezhda Udaltsova and Maria Vladimirovna Ender. At the same time, work by Alida Pott, one of the few female artists in De Ploeg, the Groningen artists’ association, will also be on show.
The exhibition contains approximately fifty masterpieces borrowed from the collection of the Tretyakov Museum in Moscow, as well as works from the collection of the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen, and from the Otten Collection from Hohenems, Austria.
A German-language catalogue entitled Schwestern der Revolution - Künstlerinnen der Russischen Avantgarde accompanies the exhibition, with contributions from Nina Gülicher, Karoline Hille, Irina Pronina, Ada Raev, Carla Schweitzer and Reinhard Spieler.
With this exhibition, the Groninger Museum participates in the many cultural manifestations that have been organized in the framework of Netherlands-Russia Year 2013. The exhibition has already been on show in the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen am Rhein.
With thanks to
Subsidizers: Municipality of Groningen, Province of Groningen.
Donor: the BankGiro Lottery.
Lenders: Tretyakov Museum in Moscow, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, and the Otten Collection in Hohenems, Austria.