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Marevna, Maria Vorobieva

Russian painter
(1892 - 1984)


It was Maxim Gorki who named her Marevna after a fairy sea princess. She was the first woman to discover cubism; a painter who achieved in her work a remarkable blend of pointillism and structure; a charming, high-spirited, though sometimes audacious, person.

She came to Paris in 1912, settled in a studio and soon made a dramatic entry into la Ruche, the beehive of émigré painters and sculptors. They would haunt the cafés to discuss the New Art and there try to trade their paintings for food and drink. They witnessed the dancing, costumes, decor and music of the Diaghilev ballet with as much enthusiasm as they participated in the frenzied gaiety of Russian balls. They attended the premiere of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps, and during the years of the First World War, when anti-Cubist and anti-Bolshevik feelings were high, sought patrons and agents for their work.

She wrote a book, Life with the Painters of La Ruche, where she tells the story of her life in La Ruche with Picasso, Braque, Léger, Chagall, Soutine, Modigliani, Rivera, Dremègne, Matisse, Gorki, Ilya Ehrenburg, Max Jacob and Jean Cocteau.

Her work is exhibited in many galleries, including the Guggenheim in New York and the Modern Art Foundation in Geneva.


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