Artist Profile: Russian Post-Impressionist Vera Rockline (1896-1934)

From Christie’s (July 9, 2020):

Vera Rockline (1896-1934), Vue de Tiflis, 1919.
Vera Rockline (1896-1934), Vue de Tiflis, 1919.

Vue de Tiflis  is a stunning vision of that city, painted in a manner inspired by Exter’s Cubo-Futurism. Tiflis was renowned then, as it still is now, for a combination of narrow medieval streets and Art Nouveau architecture. In this work, Rockline warps and fragments such features to the point of semi-abstraction: planes intersect and overlap, suggesting the restless energy and bohemian buzz of the Georgian capital.

Christie's LogoWhen she died in April 1934, aged just 37, Vera Rockline was at the peak of her fame. The Russian-born emigrée had made quite a name for herself after moving to Paris in 1921. Obituaries spoke of an ‘incomparable loss’ and a ‘prodigious talent’.

Born in Moscow in 1897 to a Russian father and French mother, Rockline moved to Kiev to apprentice for Aleksandra (or Alexandra) Exter. The latter was a cutting-edge figure whose art fused Cubist and Futurist elements. As civil war racked the former Russian Empire in the wake of 1917’s Bolshevik revolution, however, Vera and her husband fled to Tiflis (modern-day Tbilisi) in Georgia.


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