“Plants—that's what I inevitably come back to when I think about Goncharova,” wrote the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva in 1929 (quoted in Maria Valova, “Natalia Goncharova and Marina Tsvetaeva—The Hidden World of Goncharova’s Poetry,” in The Tretyakov Gallery Magazine, Moscow, 2018, n.p.). “A bush, a branch, a stem, a shoot, a leaf—these are Goncharova's political, ethical and aesthetic arguments” (quoted in ibid., n.p.). Goncharova was drawn by the energy of spring and autumn in her still lifes and landscapes. “Why doesn't Goncharova love winter?... Simply because there are no flowers in the winter, nor is there work for the peasant" (quoted in ibid., n.p.).
The richly-colored bouquet of Vase de fleurs et de pommes embodies Goncharova’s innate connection to nature and its seasons. Each bloom is painted with an appreciation of its individuality, reflecting both the artist’s technical prowess as well as her study of botany in her youth.
“Goncharova did not suffer from a pioneer complex” writes Irina Vakar, “Nor was she obsessed with being a visionary; she was perfectly comfortable moving from the 'avant-garde' to the 'rearguard' and back… It was important for her to stay connected to artistic evolution, to feel its heartbeat, and in that respect she was no different from other avant-garde artists… Nevertheless, Goncharova's path...was absolutely unique, with its sharp turns, digressions and tough curves; Picasso may have been the only artist to outrank her in this respect (Irina Vakar, “Goncharova—This Name Had the Ring of Victory,” in The Tretyakov Gallery Magazine, Moscow, 2014, n.p.).
Fig. 1 Vincent Van Gogh, Nature morte, vase aux marguerites et coquelicots, 1890, oil on canvas, sold: Sotheby’s, New York, November 4, 2014, lot 17 for $61,765,000