COSTUMES FOR TCHAIKOVSKY’S SLEEPING PRINCESS, WITH 56 MOUNTED COLOR PLATES BY LÉON BAKST AND A PORTRAIT OF BAKST BY PICASSO
BAKST, Léon. Designs of Léon Bakst for The Sleeping Princess, A Ballet in Five Acts after Perrault. Music by Tchaikovsky. Preface by André Levinson. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1923. Folio, original half gilt-stamped vellum, original blue silk boards, new patterned endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. Housed in a custom slipcase. $3800.
Limited first edition, number 204 of 500 copies in the American issue (total edition of 1,000), with 56 mounted color plates by Bakst (54 of costumes and sets, with letterpress tissue-guards), and a lithographic pen-and-ink 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. "The original version of The Sleeping Princess, at Saint-Petersburg, was due to the collaboration of Marius Petitpa, master of the ballet, Vsevolojskoi, the director of the Imperial Theatres, and Tchaikovsky, the composer of the score… Bakst's greatest claim to theatrical glory lies in his feeling for synthesis, in his impeccable instinct for harmony" (Levinson).
Scattered light foxing to mounts, plates fine and vivid; only minor soiling to spine. A near-fine copy.