*1894 in Kaunas, Lithuania
†1958 in Moscow, USSR
Varvara Stepanova was a Russian painter, theorist, and designer who was an influential proponent of constructivism in the years following the revolution. Stepanova was interested in painting, graphic art, theatre production, clothing designs, philosophy and poetry. Varvara Fyodorovna Stepanova began her formal art studies between 1910 and 1911 at the Kazan Art School, where she met future husband Alexander Rodchenko. Her first public exhibition of works was at the 1914 Moscow Salon. It was in 1917 that she began writing her first non-objective poems and became a member of the IZO-NARKOMPROS Collegium (Department of Visual Arts of the People's Commissariat for Enlightenment) in Moscow. In 1919 her work was shown at the historical 10th State Exhibition: Non-objective Creativity and Suprematismus, and also in this year, started an experimental hand-made book, named Gaust Chaba, using newsprint paper as a medium. Together with Liubov Popova, Rodchenko and others she produced designs for the First State Textile Factory in Moscow, and from 1924 to 1925 she was a professor heading the Textile Department at VKhUTEMAS (Higher State Art and Technical Studios). From 1925 onwards, her artistic activities focused mainly on typography, posters, graphic design for books and journals, as well as film and stage design, such as the sets and costumes for the film ‘Alienation.’ Her work is held by leading museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.