Liubov Popova

Liubov Popova was a Russian designer predominantly known for her “avant garde” paintings. She was born in Moscow, Russia in 1889 to Sergei Maximovich Popov and Lyubov Vasilievna Zubova. Popova lived during the cubism, post- impressionism, fauvism and dada era; however, she gravitated towards and was most known for cubism and futurism art styles. Liubov had an early exposure to art credited to her being born into a wealthy family. She had the privilege of studying with numerous well known artists around Europe. The first of which being Stanislav Zhukovsky, a Polish-Russion impressionist painter. After her work with Stanislav, Liubov traveled to Italy and Paris to continue her artistic journey where she crossed paths with artists Vladimir Tatlin, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Aleksandr Vesnin and many more. In 1912, she went on to formally study cubism at The Academie de la Palette under cubist painters Henry Le Fauconnier and Jean Metzinger. She was inspired greatly by French avant garde and Italian futurism. After her time there, Popova’s artistic career began to take off. 

As her artistic capabilities evolved, she began participating in numerous exhibitions. Some of which were: the “First Futurist Exhibition of Paintings” of March 1915 and the “Last Exhibition of Futurist Paintings” of December 1915 (Chlenova, 2019). She later joined a suprematist group along with Kazimir Malevich. Suprematism was an art developed by Kazimir defined as the “pure geometrical abstraction in painting”. Popova had a strong interest in geometric forms and often experimented with color, texture, and depth. Popova believed, “Form transformed is abstract and finds itself totally subject to architectonic requirements, as well as to the intentions of the artist, who attains complete freedom in total abstraction, in the distribution and construction of lines, surface, volumetric elements and chromatic values.” (Potter, 2009). In simpler terms, she believed that the artist has full control and manipulation over form in order to freely express their message and ideals. 

This was also around the time of the Russian Revolution (1917), a period that Popova strongly identified with. She began to use her art to voice her political opinions, specifically about how art’s role goes beyond expression. She gravitated towards constructivism and the concept of using art in practical settings. This is when she began creating posters, typography, and book designs (Sarabianov, 2020). During this time, Liubov also worked at Vkhutemas, or Moscow Institute of Artistic Culture, a technical art institution where she taught theory. Popova continued to branch out in the early 1920s by helping design the sets and costumes for theatrical productions. She worked on the designs for productions like The Magnanimous Cuckold and The Earth in Turmoil (Lodder, 2010). Though a different medium, Liubov continued to showcase her own personal style in her textile work by still strongly alluding to her geometric aesthetic. Interestingly enough, Popova’s father also worked in the textile industry as a merchant.

She also simultaneously advocated and pushed for the importance of artists having direct links to the manufacturing industry and industrial design. In 1923, Popova began to broaden her skill sets even further by creating designs for manufactured fabrics. She even began working in a factory, First State Cotton-Picking, in order to be more hands-on with the technical aspects of manufacturing. Unfortunately, this part of her journey was cut short. Liubov Popova died in 1924 at just 35 years old. She tragically contracted scarlet fever from her son who passed only a few days prior (Potter, 2009). Although her career was short lived, Liubov had many accomplishments in her lifetime and has left an everlasting impact on the art world. Many people consider Popova to be one of the women who paved the way for female artists, rightfully so.





Chlenova, M. (n.d.). Liubov’ Popova’s Objects from a Dyer’s Shop, 1914. Retrieved from


Christina Lodder, ‘Liubov Popova: From Painting to Textile Design’, in Tate Papers, no.14, Autumn 2010,, accessed 14 April 2020.


“Lyubov Popova Artist Overview and Analysis”. [Internet]. 2020.

Content compiled and written by Alexandra Banister-Fletcher

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

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First published on 14 Aug 2018. Updated and modified regularly

[Accessed 13 Apr 2020]


Potter, P. (2009). Tango with Cows. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 15(3), 



Sarabianov, A. D. (2020, March 30). Lyubov Sergeyevna Popova. Retrieved April 13, 2020, from