A Russian Fairytale: The Art and Craft of Elena Polenova

Watts Gallery – Artists' Village

18 November 2014 – 8 February 2015

£3.75 with National Art Pass (standard entry £7.50)

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The first major exhibition outside of Russia to explore the work of the 19th-century painter and designer.

Elena Polenova's career has often been overlooked in favour of that of her older brother; the famed artist Vasily Polenov. However, in recent years her work has begun to receive its due recognition – a major exhibition at the Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow in 2011 was the first since 1903 – and she has become known as one of the leading figures in the Russian craft revival.

Polenova found success as a furniture designer, developing traditional folk patterns into modern handmade wooden designs. These were produced by local, rural people and then sold in fashionable Moscow boutiques.

But she was also a talented watercolourist, textile designer and illustrator of children’s fairy-tales. As a young woman she studied under Pavel Chistyakov and then Ivan Kramskoi - both accomplished painters in their own right - and she also spent a stint at the studio of Charles Chaplin in Paris between 1869-70.

This display includes examples of Polenova's paintings, furniture and ceramics, as well as her rarely-seen original illustrations.

Venue information

Opening times

Tue – Sun, 11am – 5pm

Closed Mon (except Bank Holidays)

50% off entry during exhibitions and free entry at other times with a National Art Pass.

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)