The Traveler

Liubov Popova (Russian, 1889-1924)
Oil on canvas 
56 x 41-1/2 in. (142.2 x 105.4 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View

Like many young women from prosperous Russian families at the turn of the twentieth century, Popova traveled widely in Europe; unlike her contemporaries, however, she used her travels to develop her talents as a painter, working constantly, studying the Old Masters, and enrolling in the Parisian Académie de la Palette, where her teachers included Jean Metzinger, an early practitioner of Cubism. This abstracted composition suggests the speed and sense of dislocation associated with modern travel and seems to include an oblique self-portrait in the central figure: a woman wearing a yellow necklace and high-collared cape, who reads a magazine or newspaper in her seat on a train, grasping a green umbrella in one gloved hand. Snatches of text (including the Russian words “magazines,” “danger zone,” and “natural gas”) suggest advertisements within the compartment and signposts outside its windows. With her use of found text, fragmented forms, and shapes rhythmically repeated to create a sense of acceleration, Popova here assimilated both French Cubism and Italian Futurism in a uniquely Russian hybrid known as Cubo-Futurism.


Presumably in the collection of the artist’s brother, Pavel Popov, after her death in 1924, most likely sold to;
George Costakis, Moscow (1913-1990), (London, Sotheby’s, 26 April 1967, lot 52, ill., as The Traveller, to);
[Frank Perls, for];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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