Author(s): Robert Bell
The Ballets Russes has engaged people for over 100 years, ever since Russian born Sergei Diaghilev created this dynamic avant-garde company. Diaghilev brought together some of the most important visual artists of the 20th century Picasso, Matisse, Derain, the Delaunays, Braque, de Chirico, Natalia Gonchorova and Mikhail Larionov and more who worked as costume and stage designers with composers such as Igor Stravinsky, choreographers such as Michel Fokine and dancers such as Vaslav Nijinsky, infusing new life and creative energy into the performing arts of the time. Premiering in Paris, the Ballets Russes, for the brief period of its existence (1909-29), created exotic, extravagant and charming theatrical spectacle but also critical discussion and technical innovation, as well as exuding glamour and often creating scandal wherever it appeared. The costumes featured in this book are drawn entirely from the National Gallery of Australia's world-renowned collection of Ballets Russes costumes and ephemera. Through the costumes, drawings, programmes and posters, the visual spectacle of the Ballet Russes is brought back into view for a contemporary audience to appreciate the revolution it was and its ongoing influence.
"It is a stunning work, thoroughly researched and documented, and should be in any academic library supporting the study of costume, theater, dance, or 20th-century art. Summing up: Highly recommended." -C. Stevens, "Choice", March 2012