Friday, September 18, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ Alexandra Exter

A look at Russian-French avant-garde painter, ceramist, graphic artist, costume and stage set designer, Alexandra Exter/Aleksandra Aleksandrovna Ekster. She was born near Kiev on 6 January 1882, into a wealthy Ukrainian family.

In 1904 she married a successful Kiev lawyer, her cousin. During 1907/8 she studied art at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Montparnasse, Paris. A comparatively wealthy background allowed her to travel widely in Europe during pre-war years.

She lived between Kiev, Odessa, Milan, and Paris. In 1924 she and her husband emigrated to France and settled in Paris.

Her circle of friends included famous painters Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque who is said to have introduced her to Gertrude Stein . She was strongly influenced by Cubism, and was a pioneer of Art Deco. As for the arty -isms, Exter's work embraced several: Cubism, Futurism, Suprematism, and Constructivism. She has been described as one of the most experimental women of the avant-garde, though was perhaps at her best as an artist in her theatrical work. She taught at the Academie der Moderne in Paris and later was a professor at Academie d'Art Contemporain, she also worked as a book illustrator. Alexandra Exter died in France in March, 1949.

A few examples of her work and a 5 minute video showing more. Even more examples can be seen via Google Image.


Sevr Bridge, Kyiv. 1912
 Stage set for Merchant of Venice
 Costumes for Romeo & Juliet

 Castles Under the Sea


An Earthy Grand Trine circuit dominates her natal chart, linking her Capricorn Sun/Mercury and/or Venus (planet of the arts) to most of the clustered planets in Venus-ruled Taurus, and inventive Uranus in Virgo. The Earthy yet Uranian flavour of her artwork is evident in her embrace of Cubist elements, and Constructivist art which was "committed to complete abstraction with a devotion to modernity, where themes are often geometric, experimental and rarely emotional". (See HERE).

Without time of birth exact position of Moon can't be established, but it's likely to have been in Leo - which would link well to her gravitation to, and evident delight in, stage and costume design.


mike said...

She had an "easy" natal chart, with the grand trines you pointed-out, which coincides with her privileged ease in the material world...the multiple trines in Earth. From Mars outward, all planets are retrograde, which usually provides an internal focus, maybe self-absorbed in her case. Her final dispositors are Venus and Saturn in mutual reception, which fits her persona of an industrious, well-connected (Saturn) artist (Venus) across many disciplines. Her station in life provided the probability of an heiress socialite, which her Mercury-Jupiter-Uranus trine deplored in favor of the bohemian and avant-garde social-set. There isn't much available online regarding her personal life, but this provides the most:

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for the additional astrological pointers, and a good link.

We are still mostly left in the dark about her personality. I have to guess, from her chart (and photographs available) that she'd have been an amiable enough lady, privileged, cultured, elegant, possibly not particularly concerned about "the other half" of humanity in her day.

I like her style in general, especially the costume design paintings with their hints cubism with an Art Deco look...I can never resist a bit of Ar Deco. :-)