[Matisse, Henri. (1869-1954)] Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo 1939-1940 Season. Souvenir Program
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Folio, 66 pages (12" x 9-1/2") Stapled wraps. Illustrated cover by Henri Matisse. Profusely illustrated with photos and theater works (Picasso, Dali, Berman, Tchelitcheff). Program opens with photo of director Leonide Massine. First page of text describes the extraordinary conditions that led to the company coming to America: "With European capitols now closed to the ballet because of the war, the sponsors of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo sense the imperative need to preserve this form of art as a cultural heritage for future generations." Beautiful full-page photos of Alexandra Danilova, Alicia Markova, Mia Slavenska. Much of the program is taken up by synopses of the ballets--an amazing lineup of composers, artists and choreographers. There are 3 pages of sketches by Dali for Wagner's "Bacchanale" and "Devil's Holiday," along with a great photo of the artist studying a figurine. A 4-page color insert printed on heavy stock features designs and costumes by Tchelitcheff, Dali (double-page spread) and Picasso; further photos show costumes for "Bacchanale" and Matisse working on a set. Lots and lots of photos of dancers, and a wonderful photo on the last page of 5 ballerinas backstage arranging their hair. Binding is tight, slight edgewear to back cover, creases to corners, small area of water damage to top edge. A remarkable production attesting to the company's determination to stay alive during the war.