Aleksandra Ekster

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Aleksandra Ekster, c.1912
Born January 6, 1882(1882-01-06)
Białystok, Grodno Governorate, Russian Empire (now Poland)
Died March 17, 1949(1949-03-17) (aged 67)
Fontenay-aux-Roses, near Paris, France
Web Wikipedia

Aleksandra Aleksandrovna Ekster (Russian: Александра Александровна Экстер, Ukrainian: Олександра Олександрівна Екстер; 1882–1949), also known as Alexandra Exter, was a Cubo-Futurist, Suprematist, Constructivist painter and designer.


  • 1882 born to a wealthy Belarusian family.
  • 1892-99 attends the St. Olga Women's Gymnasium in Kyiv.
  • 1898 moves with her parents to Kyiv.
  • 1901-03 attends the Kyiv Art Institute.
  • 1904 marries her cousin, Nikolai Ekster, a lawyer.
  • 1906-08 reenrolls in the Kyiv Art Institute.
  • 1908 begins visiting Paris and other European cities.
  • 1908 takes part in several Kyiv exhibitions, including the avant-garde show The Link; produces her first book illustrations.
  • 1909-14 travels and lives abroad frequently; becomes acquainted with Apollinaire, Braque, Picasso, Soffici, and many other members of the international avant-garde.
  • 1910 contributes to The Triangle and Union of Youth exhibitions in St. Petersburg.
  • 1910-11 contributes to the first Jack of Diamonds exhibition in Moscow.
  • 1912-13 moves to St. Petersburg; continues to contribute to major exhibitions. 1913-14 lives mainly in France.
  • 1915 influenced by Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin, begins to investigate non-objective painting.
  • 1915-16 contributes to the exhibitions Tramway V and The Store.
  • 1916-17 begins her professional theater work with designs for Thamira Khytharedes in 1916 and Salomé in 1917, both produced by Alexander Tairov at the Chamber Theater, Moscow.
  • 1918 Nikolai Ekster dies.
  • 1918-19 opens her own studio in Kyiv, among her students are many artists who later achieve success, such as Isaak Rabinovich, Pavel Tchelitchew, and Alexander Tyshler.
  • 1918-20 works intermittently in Odessa as a teacher and stage designer.
  • 1920 moves to Moscow; marries Georgii Nekrasov, an actor; works at the Theater of the People's House.
  • 1921 contributes to the exhibition 5x5=25 in Moscow.
  • 1921-22 teaches at VkHUTEMAS; contributes to First Russian Art Exhibition in Berlin, which travels to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam the following spring.
  • 1923 turns to textile and fashion design for the Atelier of Fashions in Moscow; is a member of the design team for the Izvestiia Pavilion at the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition in Moscow; begins work on the costumes for Yakov Protazanov's movie Aelita.
  • 1924 emigrates to Paris; contributes to the Venice Biennale; works for Russian ballet companies with Léon Zack and Pavel Tchelitchew; teaches at Fernand Léger's Académie Moderne.
  • 1925 contributes to the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris; continues to work on stage design and interior design (which she will do throughout the 1920s and 1930s): designs costumes for seven ballets performed by Bronislava Nijinska's Théatre Choréographique.
  • 1927 exhibition at Der Sturm, Berlin.
  • 1929 exhibition at Galerie des Quatre Chemins, Paris.
  • 1936 illustrates several elegant children's books, beginning with her own Mon Jardin (1936).
  • 1937 exhibition at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris.
  • 1949 dies in Paris.



  • Miuda Yablonskaya, "Alexandra Exter", in Yablonskaya, Women Artists of Russia's New Age, 1900-1935, trans. Anthony Parton, New York: Rizzoli, 1990, pp 117-140. (English)
  • Ian Christie, "Down to Earth: Aelita Relocated", in Inside the Film Factory: New Approaches to Russian and Soviet Cinema, eds. Richard Taylor and Ian Christie, Routledge, 1991, 81-102, n227-232. (English)
  • Georgii Kovalenko (Георгий Ф. Коваленко), Aleksandra Ekster. Put khudozhnika. Khudozhnik i vremya [Александра Экстер: Путь художника. Художник и время], Moscow: Galart, 1993, 287 pp. (Russian)
  • Georgii Kovalenko, "Alexandra Exter", in Amazons of the Avant-Garde, eds. John E. Bowlt and Matthew Drutt, New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2000, pp 130-154. (English)
  • Georgii Kovalenko (Георгий Ф. Коваленко), Aleksandra Ekster / Alexandra Exter [Александра Экстер], 2 vols., Moscow, 2010, 303 & 361 pp. (Russian)/(English)

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