[Ballets Russes] [de Brunoff, Maurice. & de Brunoff, Jacques] DIAGHILEV, APOLLINAIRE, COCTEU, BAKST Collection des plus beaux numéros de Comoedia Illustré et des programmes...1909-1921
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A beautiful bound volume of special issues and supplements to the Parisian theatrical periodical Comoedia Illustré chronicling the 1909–1921 seasons of the Ballets Russes, with many photographs and full-color illustrations relating to the legendary ballet company. A selection of souvenir programs (published as supplements to the magazine) and extracts from the magazine are arranged in chronological order; interspersed leaves with texts by V. Svetloff (Russian critic and biographer of Anna Pavlova) give further details of each year's productions. Ownership inscription of Osborne Robinson and exhibition loan details on front free endpaper, some marginal dust-soiling, original green silk-covered boards with pictorial inlay (from The Firebird) by Natalia Goncharova, rebacked in green morocco, modern cloth. Graphically interesting endpapers covered in the names of important Ballets Russes figures. Most pages unnumbered; over 200 pp. total. Four leaves with clipped and mounted prints and hand-written captions appear to be the addition of the previous owner, and are partially detached; binding otherwise sound. Binding somewhat sunned, with later restored spine and slipcase. Overall in fine condition. 10.25 x 13.5 inches (26 x 34 cm).
Highlights include the May 1917 "Théâtre du Chatelet" separate publication devoted to the groundbreaking ballet Parade, including Apollinaire's famous foreword, coining the word "surrealism," and the two color illustrations by Picasso. The many color illustrations throughout highlight the artistic contributions of Léon Bakst (1866-1924), Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947), Valentine Hugo, née Gross (1887-1968), André Derain (1880-1954), Alexandre Benois (1870-1960), Mikhail Larionov (1881-1964), José Maria Sert (1874-1945) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) to the long history of the Ballets Russes. Particularly striking are the many full-page color costume designs by Bakst. The dancers featured in the illustrations and photographs include the great Russian stars Vaslav Nijinksy (1889-1950), Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978), Michel Fokine (1880-1942) and his wife Vera Fokina, and Ida Rubinstein (1883-1960), among others.
9 pages on the Saison Russe 1909, Opera et Ballet, including a cover illustration of a costume design by Leon Bakst; Cover of Comoedia Illustré no. 18 (June 15, 1910) with portrait of Catherine Gheltzer; Comoedia Illustré special number, supplement to no. 18, with cover design of a dancer with a sword by Leon Bakst. 14 pp., including two full-page color illustrations by Bakst (these two pages with partial losses and repairs to edges); 1 page clipped and mounted set design for Scherazade with hand-painted title; Programme Officiel des Ballets Russes, Théâtre du Châtelet, Juin 1911, with gold-embellished translucent paper slipcovers. Cover design of Nijinksy in "La Péri" by Leon Bakst, and eight further images by Bakst, including costume designs for "Narcisse" and "Dieu bleu," and a 2-page spread stage design for "Narcisse." Full-page portrait photographs of Nijinsky, Karsavina, Fokine and Fokina, Rosay, Natalia Trouhanowa, Sophie Fédorova, and other dancers in "Scheherezade" and "Carnaval." 30 pp.; 10 pages from an issue of Comoedia Illustré, including a 4-page color spread on Nijinsky and Karsavina, with drawings by Jean Cocteau; 10 pages on "Petrouchka," including two color set designs by A. Benois, and full-page photographs of Karsavina, Fokine and Fokina; Comoedia Illustré 1911 special number on "Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien," with a cover illustration by Leon Bakst showing Ida Rubinstein as the martyred saint, and also including a two-page gold and color spread of costume designs. 11 pp.; Comoedia Illustré 1912 special number for the 7th Season, with cover illustration from "Le Dieu Bleu" by Bakst, and also including further costume designs and scenic designs for "Daphnis et Chloé" and "Le Dieu Bleu" by Bakst. 14 pp.; 5 further pages on "Le Dieu Bleu."; Clipped cover from Comoedia Illustré no. 17 (June 1, 1912) with illustration of Karsavina and Bolm in "Thamar."; 4 further pages on "Thamar," and "Petrouchka"; Two covers mounted verso-to-verso from Comoedia Illustré special issue no. 16 (May 15, 1912) with illustration by Bakst of Nijinsky in "L'Après-Midi d'un Faune" on one cover, and a photograph of a relief sculpture on the other cover. Followed by 8 further pages on "L'Après-Midi d'un Faune" with Greek vase-style pink and black borders, and photographs of Nijinksy and several female dancers; 10 pages on "Daphnis and Chloé" with photographs and text; Special issue on "Hélène de Sparte," including cover design by Leon Bakst, showing Ida Rubinstein as Hélène, and five further costume and scenic designs by Bakst. 15 pp. Followed by 6 further pages on "Hélène de Sparte."; 4 pages on Oscar Wilde's "Salomé"; Full-page mounted illustration of Schollar, Nijinsky, and Karsavina in "Jeux," by Valentine Gross, followed by 1 page on "Boris Godounoff" with scenic illustration by Bakst and one page of costume designs by Bakst for "Boris Godounoff," 4 pages on "Jeux" with photographs and illustrations by Valentine Gross, 3 pages on "Sacre du Printemps" and "Kowanchina" with scenic drawings by Roerich and Fédorowski; 16 pages on "Jeux," "Daphnis et Chloé," and "Sacre du Printemps," including a 2-page spread on "Peintres Decoratifs Russes," with tipped-in or mounted color illustrations by Bakst and Fédorowsky, a 2-page spread of drawings of Nijinsky and Karsavina by Valentine Gross, and a 2-page spread of costume designs by Soudeïkine and a full-page curtain design by Soudeïkine; Clipped cover from Comoedia Illustré no. 18 (June 20, 1913), with illustration of Ida Rubinstein in couture by Worth. Followed by 16 pages on "La Pisanelle," including a 2-page color set design and further illustrations by Bakst and Gross; 28 pages on the Ballets Russes season of 1914, including a full-page illustration of Mme. Kousnetzoff as the wife of Putiphar and several more costume designs for "La Légende de Joseph" by Bakst, and a 2-page spread of costume designs for "Rossignol" by Alexandre Benois; 4 pages on "Le Coq d'Or" with drawings by Nathalie Gontcharova and Valentine Gross; Complete Ballets Russes special issue for the performances of May 25 and 26, 1917, constituting the "THÉATRE DU CHATELET" SEPARATE PUBLICATION MAINLY DEVOTED TO JEAN COCTEAU'S GROUNDBREAKING BALLET "PARADE", INCLUDING APOLLINAIRE'S FAMOUS FOREWORD (COINING "SURREALISM") AND THE TWO FAMOUS COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS BY PICASSO on the front and back covers, and including a portrait of Leonide Massine by Leon Bakst, a portrait of Stravinsky by Picasso, and a portrait of Picasso by Bakst. 24 pp; 4 pages on the Ballets Russes season of January-February 1920, followed by a clipped cover from the Comoedia Illustré special issue with costume designs for "Tricorne" by Picasso, and the complete program for the 1919-1920 season, including drawings by Picasso, set and costume designs by André Derain, a mounted color set design by Picasso, and costume designs by Bakst. 32 pp; Complete special issue for the "Ballets Russes à l'Opéra," May-June 1920, with cover design of costumes for "L'Astuce feminine" and further costume and scenic designs by José-Maria Sert. 9 pp; 22 pages on the Ballets Russes season of 1921, including a short program and pages from an issue of Comoedia Illustré, with drawings of Stravinsky by Picasso and of Prokofiev by Matisse, and a 2-page spread of costume and scenic designs for "Le Bouffon" by Larionow; 1 page clipped and mounted color set design for "Papillons" by Dobuzhinsky; 1 page clipped and mounted costume design by Gontcharova.
This very rare limited edition was compiled by the program publishers of the Ballets Russes themselves, Maurice and Jacques de Brunoff. All the programs are the original printings, collected and bound with a selection of extracts from the magazines, together with the souvenir programs (published as supplements), arranged in chronological order. Among the most important of all the publications present is the magnificent May 1917 "Théatre du Chatelet" publication (mainly devoted to the ballet "Parade"), which constitutes one of the most important publications in the history of modern art. It is here, in his presentation-article to "Parade," that Apollinaire coins the term "surrealism" and thus lays the foundation for the seminal cultural movement that Bréton came to lead. The ballet "Parade" represents a historical collaboration between several of the leading artistic minds of the early twentieth century: Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Léonide Massine, and Serge Diaghilev, and is especially famous, not only for its contents and its music, but also for its magnificent costumes designed by Picasso, the drawings of which are presented in the present publication for the first time - most famously the front cover for the "Parade" program, which depicts the "Costume de Chinois du ballet "Parade"/ aquarelle de Picasso", an etching with original, stunning pochoir-colouring (hand-painted by Picasso himself). This program epitomizes the importance and influence of the "Comoedia Illustré."
"This stage, theatre and ballet monthly was published in Paris between 1908 and 1921, although suspended publication (except for special issues or supplements) between September 1914 and October 1919. At the beginning of 1922, 'Comoedia illustré' merged with 'Le Théâtre' [published 1898-1921] and became 'Le Théâtre et comoedia illustré' [published 1922-1926]). 'Le comoedia' often devoted whole special issues to the annual Paris season of Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and Ida Rubinstein's Galas Russes. Special supplements of the magazine were often published as programmes to new performances. These special issues and supplements were usually lavishly illustrated, usually in full colour, with the costume and set designs, and to portraits of the leading dancers and singers in the operas and ballets. Leading designers at different times included Natalia Goncharova, Mikhael Larionov, Léon Bakst (who was particularly prolific), Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Léonide Massine, José Maria Sert, André Derain, and other avant-garde artists." (Harvard Theatre Collection)