Diaghilev was instrumental in bringing art, dance and music together and introducing it around the world.
Christian Berard was also known as Bébé. He was a French artist, fashion illustrator and designer. Bérard and Boris Kochno, who directed the Ballets Russes, were also co-founders of the Ballet des Champs-Elysées.
Bérard was the son of the official architect of the city of Paris, André Bérard. Born in
From the start of his career he had an interest in theatrical scenery and costume designs, and played an important role in the development of theatrical design in the 1930s and 1940s. He also worked as a fashion illustrator for Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Nina Ricci.
In 1930, Bérard designed his first theater set, for Jean Cocteau’s La Voix Humaine at the Comédie-Française. In 1931, Bérard joined the company of the Ballet Russes in Monte Carlo, working with choreographer George Balanchine on the ballet Cotillon. Balanchine had taken over for ballet impresario and founder of the Ballet Russes, Sergei Diaghilev.Cocteau was a life-long friend. Bérard's most renowned achievement was probably his lustrous, magical designs for Jean Cocteau's 1946 film La Belle et la Bête.
Throughout his career, when he needed the income, Bérard continued to do illustrations for fashion and interior design magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Art et Style, Formes et Coleurs and Style en France. He had a great eye for fashion and style, and his work elevated the art of fashion illustration, updating a Watteau or Fragonard sensibility for women’s fashion to the styles of the 1930s and 40s. His work often inspired the couture collections of designers like Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli and Nina Ricci. Bérard also did some interior decoration and textile design—painting murals and decorative screens, designing rugs—as well as a line of scarves for Ascher Silks, London.
Christian Berard died in 1949, while at work on the costumes and sets for Les Fourberies de Scapin at the Théàtre Marigny, working with friends director Louis Jouvet and actors Jean-Louis Barrault and Madeleine Renaud. After giving some final instructions, Bérard stood up and said: “Well, that’s that,” and collapsed from a cerebral embolism.
Christian Bérard’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Menil Collection, Houston and the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas.
Alexandre was born into the artistic and intellectual family. His father was Nicholas Benois, a noted Russian architect and his brother Leon also a notable architect. Not planning a career in the arts, Alexandre graduated from the Faculty of Law, St. Petersburg University in 1894.
In 1897, an exhibit including Benois' works, brought him to attention of Sergei Diaghilev and the artist Leon Bakst. Later, the three men founded the art magazine and movement Mir iskusstva (World of Art), which promoted the Aesthetic Movement and Art Nouveau in Russia. In 1901, Benois was appointed scenic director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, for the Imperial Russian Ballet. After that, he devoted most of his artistic time to stage design and decor.
During these years, Benois' work with the Ballets Russes was groundbreaking. His sets and costumes for the productions of Les Sylphides (1909), Giselle (1910), and Petrushka (1911), are counted among his greatest works.
Surviving the upheaval of the Russian Revolution of 1917, Benois was selected as curator of the gallery of Old Masters in the Hermitage Museum at Leningrad, where he served from 1918 to 1926. Benois published his Memoirs in two volumes in 1955.
Miro was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor and ceramist born in
Rosenberg Lev Samoylovich called Bakst was a painter and a stage designer of Belorussian birth. He was born in
He began his professional life as a copyist and illustrator of teaching materials but quickly moved on to illustration of popular magazines. His tastes were influenced and horizons enlarged when he met Alexander Benois and his circle in 1890.
With Benois and Serge Diaghilev he was a founder of the (Mir Iskusstva) group in 1898 and was largely responsible for the technical excellence of its influential magazine. In 1906 he became a drawing teacher at the Yelizaveta Zvantseva's private school in St Peterburg, where his pupils included Marc Chagall.
Bakst realized his greatest artistic success in the theatre. Making the debut with designs for stage productions at the Hermitage and Alexandrinsky theatres in St Peterburg (1902-1903), he was then commissioned for several works at the Maryinsky theatre (1903-1904). In 1909 he collaborated with Diaghilev in the founding of Ballets Russes, where he acted as artistic director, and his stages designs rapidly brought him international fame.
His colorful exotic costumes and decors for Diaghilev's Scheherazade (
Bakst was an accomplished painter, as well as designer, in the World of Art group. His costumes for Diaghilev’s revival of Imperial Ballet, The Sleeping Princess (
Henri Matisse (December 31, 1869 - November 3, 1954)
Henri Matisse was born in Le Cateau-Cambrésis,
Due to the decline of the Fauvist movement, after 1906, Matisse became an active part of the great gathering of artistic talent in
Matisse’s style of art during the post-World War I period, can be compared with the neoclassicism of Picasso and Stravinsky, and the return to traditionalism of Derain. Derain, Picasso and Stravinsky were all friends of his who he worked with on several Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo projects.
Jean Cocteau was born in Maisons-Laffitte, a small village near
Diaghilev challenged Cocteau to write a scenario for the ballet which resulted in Parade and was produced by Diaghilev, designed by Pablo Picasso, and composed by Erik Satie in 1917. Jean Cocteau published articles, interviewed its principal dancers, and created posters that featured the dancers Vaslav Nijinsky and Tamara Karsavina. Between 1912 and 1927, Cocteau provided libretti or scenarios for the ballets Le Dieu Bleu, Parade, Le Train Bleu, and the opera Oedipus Rex. Jean Cocteau (photo right) and Serge Diaghilev on opening night of Le Train Bleu, June 20, 1924.
The Russian ballet-master Diaghilev challenged Cocteau to write a scenario for the ballet which resulted in Parade and was produced by Diaghilev, designed by Pablo Picasso, and composed by Erik Satie in 1917. After his friend and fellow poet Radiguet's sudden death in 1923, he left
Derain was a French painter and co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse. André Derain was born June 10th in 1880 in Île-de-France, just outside
In 1919, Andre designed the ballet La Boutique Fantasque for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. A major success, it would lead to his creating many ballet designs. He died in Hauts-de-Seine,
Marie Laurencin was born on October 31, 1883 in Paris. At 18, she studied porcelain painting in Sèvres. She then returned to Paris and continued her art education at the Académie Humbert, where she changed her focus to oil painting.
During the early years of the 20th century, Laurencin was an important figure in the Parisian avant-garde and a member of the circle of Pablo Picasso. She became romantically involved with Picasso's friend, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, and has often been identified as his muse.
During the First World War, Marie left France for exile in Spain with her German-born husband, Baron Otto von Waëtjen, since through her marriage she had automatically lost her French citizenship. The couple subsequently lived together briefly in Düsseldorf. After they divorced in 1920, she returned to Paris.
From 1924 Marie also worked on designing stage sets. She produced various stage designs for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and the set for the "Comédie Francaise" in 1928.
She also illustrated books, such as André Gide's "La Tentative Amoureuse" and Lewis Caroll's "Alice in Wonderland."
Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova was born in Nagaevo village near Tula, Russia on June 4, 1881. Her great-aunt was Natalia Pushkina, wife of the poet Alexander Pushkin. Natalia studied sculpture at the Moscow Academy of Art, but turned to painting in 1904. She was deeply inspired by the primitive aspects of Russian folk art and attempted to emulate it in her own work while incorporating elements of fauvism and cubism. Together with her husband Mikhail Larionov she first developed Rayonism.
They organized the pre-Revolution Russian avant-garde Donkey's Tail exhibition of 1912. The Donkey's Tail was conceived as an intentional break from European art influence and the establishment of an independent Russian school of modern art.
As leaders of the Moscow Futurists, they organized provocative lecture evenings. Natalia Goncharova was also involved with graphic design - writing and illustrating a book in Futurist style. Goncharova was a member of the Der Blaue Reiter avant-garde group from its founding in 1911.
In 1915, she began to design ballet costumes and sets in Geneva. Her designs for the ballet Liturgy: Six Winged Seraph,Angel, St. Andrew, St. Mark, Nativity etc. were started in 1915. The Liturgy was commissioned by Diaghilev with Goncharova, Léonide Massine and Igor Stravinsky. She moved to Paris in 1921 where she designed a number of stage sets of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. She became a French citizen in 1939, and she died in Paris on October 17th in 1962.
On June 18, 2007, Goncharova's 1909 painting Picking Apples was auctioned at Christie's for $9.8 million, setting a record for any female artist. A year later, Goncharova's 1912 still-life The Flowers sold for $10.8 million.
Parade was Picasso’s first collaboration with tDiaghilev's Ballets Russes and in a letter sent to a friend, Jean Cocteau the librettist said “Picasso amazes me every day, to live near him is a lesson in nobility and hard work” (Rothschild 49). Picasso’s studio in
Cocteau described his friend’s unusual artistic process: “A badly drawn figure of Picasso is the result of endless well-drawn figures he erases, corrects, covers over, and which serves him as a foundation. In opposition to all schools he seems to end his work with a sketch.” The audiences were amazed by the first ballet to have cubist costumes, sets, and choreography.
Dali was born on in the town of Figueres, in the Empordà region, close to the French border in
(Photo:Coco Chanel with Dali)
In the ballet community Dali is remembered designing sets for Ballet Russe’s Bacchanale in 1939, a ballet based on and set to the music of Richard Wagner's 1845 opera Tannhäuser. Dalí provided both the set design and the libretto.
After Bacchanale, Dali created set designs for Labyrinth in 1941 and The Three-Cornered Hat in 1949 for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.