Irène Klestova was born in Saratov in Russia in 1908 but grew up in Moscow following her families move to the capital. Klestova showed a keen interest in painting from a young age and began her artistic education in the studio of the famous landscape painter Theodore Rerberg. At the age of seventeen Klestova moved to Rome where she joined the Accademia di Belle Arti.
Whilst in Rome, Klestova met the fellow Russian painter, Lev Tchistovsky, and the two would become lifelong companions. Tchistovsky was a devoted to Classical painting and favoured painting nudes, mythological scenes and still lives. He encouraged Klestova to maintain her academic style of painting and choice of subject matter at a time when artists were embracing a much more avant guarde approach to painting. In 1926 the couple settled in Paris in Montparnasse and mixed in the social circles of fellow artists André Breton and Tamara de Lempicka. From the 1930’s, Klestova and Tchistovsky lived in Cenevieres in the south-west of France where they both enjoyed the rural life painting, gardening and cultivating orchids.
Klestova was a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and the Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris and exhibited in France, England and America.