BALLET RUSSE COSTUMES: TCHAIKOVSKY’S “SLEEPING BEAUTY,” SIGNED BY BAKST, WITH 56 MOUNTED COLOR PLATES BY LÉON BAKST AND PORTRAIT OF BAKST BY PICASSO: LARGE FOLIO LIMITED EDITION, AN EXCEPTIONAL COPY
BAKST, Léon. L'Oeuvre de Leon Bakst pour La Belle au Bois Dormant. Preface d'André Levinson. Paris: de Brunoff, 1922. Large folio, original limp cream paper covers, uncut, custom chemise. $7500.
Signed limited first French edition, number 308 of only 500 copies signed by both Bakst and publisher Maurice de Brunoff, with 56 mounted color plates (54 full-page costumes and sets for the Ballet Russes, with letterpress tissue-guards), and a portrait of Bakst by Picasso.
A gifted painter, Bakst is best remembered for the sets and costumes he designed for Diaghilev's Ballet Russes in the early decades of the 20th century. His exotic and sumptuous designs, in conjunction with Diaghilev's radical and provocative choreography, helped revitalize ballet and lay the framework for modern interpretive dance. It was the Ballet Russes that first brought Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty (renamed Sleeping Princess) to the west in 1921, featuring scenery and costumes by Bakst. "Bakst's greatest claim to theatrical glory lies in his feeling for synthesis, in his impeccable instinct for harmony" (Levinson). Without rare original slipcase.
Plates and text fine, only minor wear to spine of fragile original paper covers. A beautiful copy.