Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929

Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929

by Jane Pritchard
     
 

While the early 20th century was rich with creative energy, no one brought theater and dance to the forefront of culture quite like Sergei Diaghilev did with his extraordinary Ballets Russes. From 1909 to 1929, the Ballets Russes attracted the involvement of major artists, composers, and designers. Now,  this major book, published to accompany a retrospective

Overview

While the early 20th century was rich with creative energy, no one brought theater and dance to the forefront of culture quite like Sergei Diaghilev did with his extraordinary Ballets Russes. From 1909 to 1929, the Ballets Russes attracted the involvement of major artists, composers, and designers. Now,  this major book, published to accompany a retrospective exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, examines the origins, development, and long-term influence of the Ballets Russes and celebrates the centenary of their first appearance in 1909. 
Diaghilev's extraordinary company revolutionized ballet for all time. The book shows Diaghilev's use of avant-garde composers such as Stravinsky, dancers such as Nijinsky and Massine, and designers such as Bakst, Goncharova, Picasso, Matisse, and Chanel, and even a very young George Balanchine, all of whom helped to create true collabrations never before seen in the performing arts. works This beautiful book showcases artistic collaboration at its finest.

PRAISE FOR DIAGHILEV AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE BALLETS RUSSES

"The best accompaniment for the exhibition is the sumptuous illustrated catalog, edited by Jane Pritchard, who co-curated the exhibit along with Geoffrey Marsh. In its close-up details of costume, its black and white images of ballet and its lucid and intelligent texts, the book covers subjects that are not discussed in the museum show. This fascinating book should be on every ballet lovers’ holiday gift list."—Suzy Menkes, The New York Times

"The most newsworthy dance item in Europe during the remainder of 2010 is not occurring onstage. It’s an exhibition: “Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-29” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (through Jan. 9, 2011). " —Alaistair Macaulay,  Sunday New York Times 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Published to coincide with an exhibition curated by Pritchard at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, which possesses the largest holdings of Ballets Russes sets and costumes, this book highlights the artistic achievements of one of the most famous dance companies in history, founded by the great theater producer Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929), dubbed an enlightened despot with extraordinary artistic flair by collaborator/composer Stravinsky. Diaghilev, an aesthete and son of a landed nobleman, achieved acclaim as a curator of public art exhibitions and edited an avant-garde art magazine. But it was for his revolutionary, modernist ballet company that Diaghilev is best known, and the photographs in this book illustrate why, with images of his lead male dancers and choreographers, such as Nijinsky and Serge Lifar, who restored the male dancer to a central role; work by artists like Léon Bakst that revitalized stage design; and costumes that influenced fashion and furnishings (Le Train bleu featured both Chanel's smartly contemporary costumes and Picasso's triumphant drop curtain with two giantesses running hand in hand along the beach). Although the book's essays are somewhat disjointed, readers will savor the abundant photographs, which aptly demonstrate the creative process at work. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Published to coincide with an exhibit of the same name at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, this catalog uses some of the vast riches of the museum's dance collections to great effect to elucidate the long-term influences of Russian impresario Sergey Diaghilev (1872-1929) and his Ballets Russes on the development of 20th-century arts. The visual artifacts—photographs, set designs, costumes, sketches, paintings, posters, scores, and souvenir programs—in this heavily illustrated volume complement the catalog's eight essays, which powerfully communicate the unprecedented creative collaboration of artistic giants that took place under Diaghilev's direction and transformed theatrical production. The catalog includes helpful appendixes that list the company's repertoire and tour locations, as well as short, entertaining pieces on narrow topics, such as "front cloths" and "daily class." Coeditors Pritchard and Marsh (curator of dance and director, respectively, Theatre & Performance Collections, Victoria and Albert Museum) have drawn upon new research to share museum treasures that have not been widely seen. Verdict Recommended for interested readers who may be intimidated by Sjeng Scheijen's recent 500-plus page biography, Diaghilev: A Life.—Joan Stahl, George Washington's Mount Vernon, VA

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781851776139
Publisher:
V & A Publications
Publication date:
10/01/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 12.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Jane Pritchard is curator of dance at the V&A.

Geoffrey Marsh is director of the Theatre and Performance Collections at the V&A.

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