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

As a young woman from a prosperous Russian family, Liubov Popova traveled throughout Europe to develop her talents as a painter. She worked constantly, studied the Old Masters, and enrolled 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 transport, 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 words (including the Russian terms for “gazette,” “hat,” “2nd class,” and the roar of the train) vividly convey the sights and sounds of locomotive travel. With her use of found text, fragmented forms, and shapes rhythmically repeated to create a sense of acceleration, Popova 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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