Signed limited first French edition of Bakst's sumptuous designs for Diaghilev's 1921 London revival of Petipa's classic ballet.
"The Sleeping Princess is an example to all producers of theatric decor. It possesses originality to the extent of genius." (The Dancing Times, 1921)
Exquisite reproductions of the costume and set designs for the extravagant Ballets Russes revival of the jewel of classical ballet, thirty years after its 1890 premiere in St. Petersburg. As Levinson's introduction declares, Bakst created an atmosphere and a world that successfully assimilated all its historical influences into a unified whole: not a pastiche, but a dream. The cost of materials and construction to fulfill Bakst's lavish visions in minutest detail, coupled with disappointing audience numbers forcing closure on the production, left Diaghilev deeply in debt, his relationship with Bakst permanently damaged, and the costumes themselves impounded and held prisoner at the Coliseum Theatre for four long years. To judge by these images, one conclude – finances and reputations apart – that it was worth it.
Read more: Schouvaloff, The Art of Ballets Russes.
Paris: M. de Brunoff, 1922. L'oeuvre de Léon Bakst pour La Belle au Bois Dormant. Ballet en Cinq actes d'après le conte de Perrault. Musique de Tchaïkovsky. Préface d'André Levinson. 15.25'' x 11.5''. 20th century gilt-stamped beige cloth. Cloth endpapers. Original wrappers with portfolio flaps bound in. Frontispiece lithographic portrait of Bakst by Picasso. 56 color plates in total, including 54 numbered plates with printed tissue guards, plus the smaller "La Fée Carabosse" above the Table des Illustrations and "Panier de Fleurs" mounted to title page. Limited edition of 500 copies, of which this copy is No. 95. Signed by Bakst at colophon. , 22,  pages. Tape repairs to original flaps. Small smudges to endpapers and preface margins. Small bookplate remnant to front free endpaper.
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