Liubov Popova was a painter who believed that art should serve some useful purpose. Born to a cultured Russian family, Popova studied art and painting in Moscow. In 1910, Popova traveled to Italy and two years later to Paris, where she studied with Cubists artists. In 1912, she met Vladimir Tatlin. She went to France again in 1913 and also to Italy, where she learned about Futurism. Her early paintings at this time had a subdued palette, simplification of shapes, and collage elements
Popova returned to Russia in 1913 and exhibited with the Russian avant-garde artists who were painting in the Soviet Constructivism style. In 1916, she joined the Suprematist group and contributed to Kazimir Malevich’s magazine “Supremus” along with Alexandra Exter and Olga Rozanova.
She was teaching in 1918, but in late1921 she devoted herself to utilitarian design. By the end of the early 1920s she had developed her own personal style, a geometric abstractionism of great expressive force that she also used in the applied arts. Her paintings explored spatial possibilities with overlapping circles, cubes, diagonal lines, and geometric shapes in which colors merged or contrasted sharply.
In 1922, she was designing theatrical stage sets and costumes. In the last years of her life, she designed fabrics, clothes, costumes and sets for theater, and in her last year she worked on textile designs patterns for Russia’s First State Textile Factory in Moscow. She worked in painting, porcelain, and literature. If not for her untimely death, she would have become one of the major forces in Russian art.
She has had exhibitions in Russia and a more recent one at the Tate Modern. Her work is in the collections of museums, one of which is LACMA, Los Angeles.