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Natalia Goncharova Ballet Backdrop to Preside Over TEFAF New York 2019

Natalia Goncharova, Le Coq d’Or, 1914.

COURTESY GALERIE GMURZYNSKA

As part of its presentation at the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in New York, which opens to the public on Friday, Galerie Gmurzynska will show a monumental theater backdrop created by the 20th-century Russian artist Natalia Goncharova. The painted textile, priced at $2 million, will be hung from the ceiling of the Park Avenue Armory.

The artist’s works have fetched millions at auction in recent years. Of Goncharova’s market popularity, Isabelle Bscher, co-owner of Galerie Gmurzynska, told ARTnews, “I think there’s a resurgence [in interest] for women artists, and someone of that kind of historical importance has a widespread appeal.”

Goncharova, who will be the subject of a retrospective opening in June at Tate Modern in London, created the artwork in 1914 for a production of Le Coq d’Or from Sergei Diaghilev’s storied dance company, Ballet Russes. The work debuted at Paris’s Théâtre National de l’Opéra in May of that year, and it was last shown publicly in 2005, at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The 30-foot-long work depicts a fantastical St. Petersburg, with elaborately decorated buildings rendered in vibrant yellows, oranges, pinks, and reds, topped with crown-like roofs. In the distance, the city blurs into a quiet grayness, making the structures in the foreground appear surreal.

Over the course of her career, Goncharova also crafted costumes for Diaghilev’s ballets, and her varied output also spanned book design, and body art, as well as more conventional mediums like painting and drawing. Galerie Gmurzynska, which maintains spaces in New York and the Swiss cities of Zurich and Zug, will display a selection of her costume designs and drawings related to Le Coq d’Or.

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