Olga Vladimirovna Rozanova, born in 1886 in Melenki near Vladimir and died on 7 November 1918 in Moscow, was a representative artist of the Russian avant-garde, both a painter and a sculptor, close to the Suprematist movement.
In 1904 she entered the Stroganov School of Applied Art. In 1910 she became one of the most active members of the Soyuz Molodyozhi (Youth Union) group, whose manifesto she wrote. The place of women in Russian art was becoming prominent in her time. Within this group, together with Elena Gouro, she put forward very advanced aesthetic ideas. Her article "Bases of the New Creation and the Reason for its Misunderstanding" was published in the third almanac of the Youth Union.
She was aware that she was living in a transitional period in which art had freed itself from nature to create freely. But with time, the creative energy that had arisen from this liberation weakened; the technique became convoluted and the forms froze in repetition. The result was a gradual decay, which Rozanova said she found in the exhibitions of "Mir Iskousstva" and the "Union of Russian Painters". The avant-garde had to bring in new principles: dynamism, volume, rhythm, colour relationships. The new art must free itself from any narrative, literary or social side1. Repetition is to be proscribed by the artists and, according to Olga, "identity is the apotheosis of vulgarity".
She created in the fields of painting, three-dimensional construction, textiles and clothing design as well as poetry and writing articles for contemporary newspapers.
In 1912, she became close to the Russian Futurist movement and became friends with Velimir Khlebnikov and Alexei Kroutchenykh, whom she married in the same year.
From 1913 to 1917, she illustrated 19 books, mainly written by her husband; she was the only artist of the Russian Avant-Garde to dedicate herself to book illustration.
She joined Suprematism in 1916 and, under the impetus of Kasimir Malevich, developed a style of painting that bordered on abstraction. In the same year, she took part in the artistic community experiment in the Ukrainian village of Verbovka, initiated by Natalia Davidova and Nina Genke-Meller.
In 1917-1918, she embarked on a series of compositions that she called "tsv'etopis'", from which emerged, among others, the famous composition The Green Ray (1917), works that anticipated abstract expressionism.
She died relatively young, in 1918, as a result of diphtheria.
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