signed lower right
watercolour and pencil on paper
63.5 x 49 cm
Estate of Mt. Vernon, NY
"Young Nude" - is a wonderful watercolour by the fascinating artist with an incredible, exotic pseudonym "Marevna", which she used to sign her artworks and also that is how her friends used to call her. She was named "Marevna" by the famous Russian writer Maxim Gorky while spending time on Capri. "Young Nude" impresses the viewer with its soft glow, warm light, peaceful harmony and dreamy atmosphere. The artist was painting what she knew and felt best: the world of men, women and children, the theme of motherhood, nude female figures. It is characteristic not only of "Young Nude", but other Marevna's works display her adoring, loving, sublime attitude to the female body. The mood of the work and its rose-peach shades, lightness and ease, remind the atmosphere of the French Riviera, where Marevna together with her daughter lived from 1936 to 1948. Most often, she used her daughter, a beautiful dancer and actress, charming Marika Rivera, as a model. Marika appears in different ages and various portrayals in the work of Marevna: a child, a young girl, a charming, stately woman, and even impersonating Madonna with the child. Overall, portraits, images of people, which Marevna has created, are imbued with particular psychological depth and individual approach. Marevna was formed and developed as an artist in Paris, among the most avant-garde artists of the 1920s, those responsible for the most daring decisions in the art of the first half of the XX century. Even though the work of Marevna cannot serve as an example of any revolutionary discoveries in art, her distinctive style has been preserved by the artist throughout her life and is now firmly associated with her name.
Marevna, one of the most prominent figures of the Parisian Bohemia of the XX century, entered the history of art as one of the first women who began to paint in the style of cubism, and then found its own characteristic, unique style in the combination of Cubism's geometry and forms and Pointillism. Pointillism or divisionism, the founder of which is considered Georges Sera, originated in France in the 1880s as one of the tendencies of Neo-Impressionism and is based on a specific style of painting with separate brushstrokes in a shape of a point or a rectangle. One of the fundamental principles of Pointillism is considered to be a departure from the physical mixing of colours in the direction of the optical effect, when the appearance of colour, in other words, the blending of colours, occurs on the human's retina. Marevna became interested in this style of painting in the 1920s, experimenting with colour, line, and composition, and later quite often used these techniques of Neo-Impressionism until the 1950s. André Verde, a French poet, compared Marevna's Neo-Impressionist works to Eastern mosaics, arguing that her works have the same charm. Indeed, during her childhood, Marevna went with her father to the Caucasus, and visited old monasteries, discovering their wonderful Byzantine decorations. Diego Rivera introduced Marevna to Sonya and Robert Delaunay, and she admired how the exploration of compositional dynamism is going in the works of those talented artists. Marevna, when arrived in Paris, like no other, fearlessly plunged into the fascinating madness of new art, in this bold experiment, which immediately bore fruit in her creative search. Her own, original style combined the structural heritage of Cezanne and cubist theory, the ideas of neo-impressionism, her Russian heritage, as well as something classical, eternal in the very essence of her works, together with delicate, thoughtful use of colour and careful attention to form. The artist was able to create works that clearly belonged to the XX century, but their central theme - humanity - is perpetual, and because of that, in addition to the stylistic superiority, these works have a great significance.