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Alexandra Exter

Alexandra Exter

*  1882 Bialystok
† 1949 Fontenay-aux-Roses

The suprematist and constructivist painter, designer, and co-founder of the Art Deco movement, Alexandra Exter (or Ekster) was born on January 6, 1882 to a well-to-do family in Belostock. Exter studied at the Kiev art school and went to the Académie de la Grande Chaumičre in Montparnasse, Paris, in 1907. She lived in the cities of Kiev, St. Petersburg, Odessa, Paris, Rome, and Moscow from 1908 to 1924. Together with the members of the group "Zveno" in 1908, Exter exhibited her work in Kiev. Already in 1914, Exter presented with such artists as Kasimir Malevich, Alexander Archipenko, Vadym Meller, Sonia Delaunay-Terk at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris and at the International Futurist Exhibit in Milan. A year later, Alexandra Exter joined the avant-garde group "Supremus." In 1918, the artist founded a teaching and production studio (MDI) in Kiev, in which artists such as Meller, Petrytsky, Redko, Chelitschev, Shifrin und Nikritin worked. At the same time, Exter worked as a costume designer for Alexander Tairov's Chamber Theater and for the ballet studio of the dancer Bronislava Nijinska, the sister of Vaslav Nijinsky. In 1921, she was appointed director of the elementary course of the Higher Artistic-Technical Workshop (VKhUTEMAS) in Moscow. In 1924, Exter resettled in France, working as a professor at the Académie Moderne in Paris. Two years later, Fernand Léger brought Exter as a professor to the Académie d'Art Contemporain. After her participation in the exhibition "Cubism and Abstract Art" in New York in 1936 and other exhibits in Prague and Paris, she dedicated herself to book illustration and worked for the publishing house Flammarion in Paris. Alexandra Exter was an active illustrator until her death on March 17, 1949, in Fontanay-aux-Roses, a Paris suburb.