The Traveler
Liubov Popova (Russian, 1889-1924)
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.


  • Artist Name: Liubov Popova (Russian, 1889-1924)
  • Title: The Traveler
  • Date: 1915
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 56 x 41-1/2 in. (142.2 x 105.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1967.11.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

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.

Posthumous Exhibition of the Artist-Constructivist, L.S. Popova

  • Moscow, Stroganov College, 1924 to 1924

The Cubist Epoch

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1970-12-15 to 1971-02-21
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1971-04-07 to 1971-06-07

East Meets West: Russian Art from the 18th through the 20th Century

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1987-10-01 to 1988-04-17

Selections from the Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art

  • Princeton University Art Museum, 1972-12-03 to 1974-07-17

Reinstallation of South Wing

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-10-07 to 1995-08-13
  • Steadman, David, Art Journal, pp. 34-40
  • Glenny, T., Art & Antiques, pp. 58-67, 97
  • Gray, Camilla, The Great Experiment: Russian Art 1863-1922, 1962, fig. 143 p. 206
  • Bowlt, John, The Structurist, 1975, p. 84
  • Rowell, Margit; and Angelica Zander Rudenstein, Art of the Avant-Garde in Russia: Selections from the George Costakis Collection, 1983, p. 54
  • Janson, H., History of Art, 1986, p. 688
  • Sarabianov, Dmitri V.; and Natalia L. Adaskina, Popova, 1989, pp. 65, 67-68, 96
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 188
  • Dabrowski, M., Liubov Popova, 1991, no. 36 pp, 15, 54
  • Piland, S., Women Artists: An Historical, Contemporary and Feminist Bibliography, 1994, pl. 22
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 349 p. 287
  • various, Janson's History of Art, 8th edition, 2015, 27.22 pp. 966-967
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