Vera Stravinsky was born Vera Bosse in St. Petersburg, Russia, a daughter of wealthy Baltic German aristocrats; she changed her surname to the more French-sounding "de Bosset." She attended boarding school in Moscow and enrolled at the University of Berlin to study philosophy and anatomy, but in her second year, she switched to art.
She became a dancer, artist, and actress and had two brief, early marriages. She eloped to Paris with Serge Sudeikin, a painter and stage designer. In 1921, she met Stravinsky, who was still married to his first wife Katerina Nossenko and had four children. They began an long-term affair during which Vera left her husband. She supported herself in Paris by designing and making theater and ballet costumes and running a boutique that sold artificial flowers. She appeared as the Queen in the Ballets Russe production of The Sleeping Beauty. She and Stravinsky were finally married in 1940 in the USA, after the death of his first wife. They lived most of their married life in Los Angeles and entertained friends and leading figures from the arts world, including European émigrés and refugees from Nazi Germany such as Thomas Mann, Max Reinhardt, Franz Werfel and Alma Mahler. With Lisa Sokolov, a friend, she established a gallery called La Boutique in Hollywood, and ran it until 1946. In 1969, after her husband's health began to fail, they moved to New York City. Over the years, her paintings had some 30 exhibitions in major cities such as Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Mexico City, London, Paris, Berlin, and New York.