Avant-Garde Russian Women

The lasting invisibilization of the female pioneers in the Russian avant-garde seems surprising given that there were so many brilliant Russian artists and that they were celebrated in their day. For instance, not a single Russian femaIe artist features in Linda NochIin’s 1971 text “Why have there been no great women artists?” They were rediscovered as ”amazons of the avant-garde” at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao exhibition in 2000. Their number may be explained because access to training in fine arts was opened up as of 1871 in the Russian Empire. Although each had her own originality, they shared in common the fact that they did not limit themselves to the field of painting. They explored the possibilities opened up by poetry, books, theater, sets, costumes and textiles, and brought abstraction into everyday life. These decompartmentalized stories add to the history of abstract painting, undermining the temptation to opt for a monolithic narrative of abstraction.