was born in Smolensk, Russia to a prosperous family who encouraged
her to study medicine. Her natural instincts, however, were
for the arts and, in 1903 she switched to the study of art
at the Academy in St. Petersburg. 1905 she visited the artistic
capital of the world, Paris, France. Two years later, she
moved to Paris, taking a job as a correspondent for several
Russian newspapers while studying painting under Henri Matisse
and attending classes at the École nationale supérieure des
Beaux-Arts. In 1912 she opened her own atelier in Montparnasse.
It became the nexus for those at the cutting-edge of art at
the time, when Erik Satie, Henri Matisse, Nina Hamnett, Amedeo
Modigliani, Ossip Zadkine, Olga Sacharoff, Juan Gris, and
Chaim Soutine started dropping by in the evenings for conversation
and occasionally to draw.
Marie Vassilieff's own artwork is primarily in the Cubist
style, her most interesting paintings are portraits of dancers
as well as those of her friends, Jean Cocteau, Picasso, and
Matisse. Known, too, for her decorative furniture pieces and
her doll-portraits, Vassilieff's works remain very popular.
Although her works never gained the lofty stature or astounding
prices of some of her renowned contemporaries, today they
may be found in museums and private collections worldwide.
After several exhibitions in London in 1928 and 1930, and
in Italy in 1929, she opened the Vassilieff Museum. Friends
with Alfred Jarry, she organized a homage to him. Marie Vassilieff
died at a home for elderly artists in Nogent-sur-Marne, Île-de-France,