Nadezhda Khodasevitch Leger
Nadezhda Khodasevitch Leger was a Russian muse, student and wife of French artist Fernand Leger. Very often talented, successful women are forced to remain in the shadow of the great men. Despite the fact that Nadezhda dedicated her life to the work of her beloved husband, she remained as an independent personality in history who was appreciated by her contemporaries.
Talented girl was born on October 4, 1904 in the village near Vitebsk. Her family was large and poor. They had to wander from one village to another because of the First World War. Since the early childhood she had a passion for painting. At the age of 15 the girl left home and entered the state artist workshop in Smolensk. There she had a chance to meet Russian artist Kazimir Malevich.
Later Nadezhda was in Warsaw, where she entered the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. The girl lived in a convent orphanage. At the Academy Nadia met artist Stanislaw Grabowski, the son of a wealthy Polish official. Stanislaw and Nadia got married despite the protests of the groom’s parents. The young couple decided to continue their studies in Paris.
In 1924 Nadia graduated from the Academy of Contemporary Art, headed by Fernand Leger.
In 1927, shortly after the birth of their daughter, Wanda, the young couple broke up. Stanislaw returned to Warsaw, and Nadia stayed with her daughter in Paris. In the morning she cleaned the rooms, during the day she studied at the Leger’s Academy, and in the evenings she helped Fernand in his work.
At the beginning of World War II, Nadia joined the resistance movement. And in 1944 she joined the Union of Soviet patriots.
On February 21, 1952 Nadezhda married Fernand Leger, French cubist-surrealist painter, architect and filmmaker. He was 20 years older than his wife. However, their happiness was short. In 1955 Ferdinand died.
Nadezhda created the Leger museum which became the National Museum of France. The museum also contained the art work by Nadia Leger: mosaic portraits of celebrities: Peter Tchaikovsky, Leo Tolstoy, Nadezhda Krupskaya, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Maya Plisetskaya. She continued to work, participated in public movements and political committees, but spent most of her time organizing exhibitions and traveling to Russia.
Nadia Khodasevitch Leger died on November 7, 1982 and was buried in France.