Attended St. Olga Women’s Gymnasium in Kyiv (1892-1899) and KKhU (1901-1903). In 1904, married her cousin, the lawyer Nikolai Exter (who died in 1918). Re-enrolled at KKhU (1906-1908). From 1908 onward was a regular visitor to Paris and other European cities. Took part in several Kyiv exhibitions, including David Burliuk‘s the “Link,” the first of many involvements with the avant-garde. Created her first book illustrations. Acquainted with Apollinaire, Braque, Picasso, Soffici, and many other members of the international avant-garde. Contributed to the “Triangle” and “Union of Youth” exhibitions in St. Petersburg (1910 and to the “Jack of Diamonds” exhibition in Moscow (1910-1911 and onwards). Moved to St. Petersburg (1912) and continued to contribute to major exhibitions. Associated with the Union of Youth. Lived mainly in France (1913-1914). Prompted by Malevich and Tatlin, began to investigate non-objective painting (1915). Contributed to the exhibitions “Tramway V” and the “Store” (1915-1916). Began professional theater work with designs for Thamira Khytharedes, produced by Alexander Tairov at the Chamber Theater, Moscow in 1916 and then Salome (1917). Ran her own studio in Kyiv where many artists of later fame studied, such as Isaak Rabinovich, Oleksandr Tyshler, and Pavel Tchelitchew (1918-1920). Worked intermittently in Odesa as teacher and stage designer. Moved to Moscow (1920). Married the actor Georgii Nekrasov. Worked at the Theater of the People’s House. Contributed to the exhibition “5×5 = 25” in Moscow (1921). Designed Tairov’s book Zapiski rezhissera [Notes of a Director], Taught at Vkhutemas (1921 -1922). Made textile and fashion designs for the Atelier of Fashions, Moscow (1923). Member of design team for the Izvestiia pavilion at the “All-Russian Agricultural Exhibition,” Moscow. Designed costumes for the movie Aelita (released 1924). Emigrated to Paris ( 1924). Represented at the Venice Biennale ( 1924). With Leon Zack and Pavel Tchelitchew worked for the Ballets Romantiques Russes. Taught at Leger’s Arademie Moderne. Contributed to the “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs” in Paris (1925). Designed costumes for seven ballets performed by Bronislava Nijinska’s Theatre Choreographique (1925). With Nechama Szmuszkowicz, made a set of marionettes (1926). Exhibitions at Der Sturm, Berlin (1927), Quatre Chemins, Paris (1929), and Musee des Artes et Metiers, Paris (1937). Between 1937 and 1946, illustrated deluxe editions for children such as Marie Collin-Delavaud’s Panorama de la Montagne (Paris: Flammarion, 1938) and Panorama de la Cote (Paris: Flammarion, 1938), and her own Mon Jardin (Paris: Flammarion, 1936).
Books about Aleksandra Ekster:
- Aleksandra Ekster. From Impressionism to Constructivism. Exhibition catalogue. Moscow, Sovetskiy Hudojnik, 1988.
- G. Kovalenko. Aleksandra Ekster. Moscow, 1993.