Aleksandra Beļcova

1892Surazh, Russia | 1981Riga, Latvia
Aleksandra Beļcova — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Atelier of Alfrēds Pole, Aleksandra Beļcova, mid-1920s, photograph, collection of The Museum of Roman Suta and Aleksandra Beļcova, Riga

Latvian painter, draughtswoman porcelain painter.

In 1912 Aleksandra Beļcova entered Konstantin Savitsky Art School in Penza, where in 1915 she met students from Latvia, young painters, who came there from Riga as refugees. After graduation in 1917, she moved to Saint Petersburg. The next year she entered the Petrograd Free State Art Studios in the class taught by avant-garde artist Nathan Altman (1889-1970). In 1919 at the invitation of the young Latvian painter Romans Suta (1896-1944), who would become her husband, she went to Riga. Here, rejoining her former schoolmates, she became a member of the Riga Artists Group. They shared interest in French modern art and her works from the early 1920s displaying characteristics of the Cubist style.
In 1922 A. Beļcova and R. Suta visited Berlin, and Paris in the spring of 1923. They visited France a second time in 1925, when they both took a part in the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris with painting on porcelain. Their plates, vases and tea sets from the Baltars workshop won acclaim – two gold and one bronze medals. Baltars workshop was founded in 1924 and existed until 1929. For paintings on porcelain A. Beļcova often chose motifs from various folklore traditions, or created abstract geometric designs. In many cases these paintings displaying decorative elements of Art Deco.
In the second half of 1920s she made regular trips to the south of France, where she spent considerable time in health clinics. The works from this period – paintings of views from the veranda window, portraits of the patients at the clinic and local people, along with self-portraits, already display the stylistic characteristics of New Objectivity or Neorealism – painting Vence (1929-1930), aquarelle Anna (1928) – both Museum of R. Suta and A. Beļcova in Riga.

In the 1930s A. Beļcova discovered the formula of her own artistic style, focusing mainly on portraits and genre art. Her subsequent work retained to some degree intimacy, a lyrical mood and a striving for realistic depictions.
With the outbreak of Second World War in Latvia in 1941 Beļcova’s friends ended up in the ghetto, and she would bring them food. It was impossible to forget the scenes in this horrific place of resettlement. Some of the drawings in her “ghetto series” are subjective expressions, whereas others are significant as historical documents recording the tragedy of the Jews in Riga.

After the war ended in 1945 Beļcova joined the Latvian SSR Artists’ Union. She remained active until her final years, participating in exhibitions and other artistic events.
The State Museum of Art in Riga organised two solo exhibitions of A. Beļcova in 1962 and 1972. Her works are in collections of many museums in Latvia, also in permanent exposition of Latvian National Museum of Art. Largest collection of A. Beļcova’s works and her private archive belong to the Museum of Roman Suta and Aleksandra Beļcova, the affiliate of Latvian National Museum of Art. This Museum of artist located in the centre of Riga, in the apartment, where lived A. Beļcova with her husband R. Suta.

Natalija Jevsejeva

© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Linked theme
Discover other artists

of Women Artists
& Exhibitions

Facebook - AWARE Twitter - AWARE Instagram - AWARE
Villa Vassilieff - 21, avenue du Maine 75015 Paris (France) — info[at]aware-art[.]org — +33 (0)1 55 26 90 29