Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

2.20.2013

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes Coming to D.C.

[Photo my own]  

Over the weekend I stopped by the 65th Annual Atlanta Camellia Show. Some of the jaw-droppingly-beautiful white varieties made me think of Chanel's iconic camellia, and later I wondered if any Chanel-related exhibitions are on the horizon.

Well, indirectly, there's one coming to the National Gallery of Art: Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music is a huge show opening May 12. 1920s costumes by Coco Chanel will be among the highlighted pieces as she was one of 20th century designers who collaborated with Diaghilev. (A few other designers/artists included Sonia Delaunay, Léon Bakst, and Henri Matisse.)

[Coco Chanel's La Perlouse in Le Train Blue, 1924. V & A Museum.]

But for many what's really exciting about this highly anticipated summer blockbuster is that two very famous, massively-scaled objects are headed to the States: The front curtain for The Blue Train (1924) designed by Pablo Picasso and painted by Prince Alexander Schervashidze, Diaghilev's principal set designer, and Natalia Goncharova's backdrop for The Firebird (1926). Never before seen in a U.S. museum, these will be the biggest pieces ever exhibited inside the NGA. In all visitors will see 135 original costumes, set designs, prints and drawings, photographs, posters, paintings, sculptures, and film clips as part of a multimedia installation.

If something about the show feels familiar, you may be thinking of the V & A's 2010 exhibition, Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes. The D.C. show, a collaborative effort itself, has been adapted from the V & A's creation but will showcase 50 objects not seen in London. (BTW, totally channeling the Diaghilev vibe, Café Ballets Russes is set to open at the museum in May, ofering French and Russian bistro classics.)


Loosely related past post: In the Russian Style.

8 comments:

Laura Casey Interiors said...

So glad to know about the DC exhibition, I will be there this summer and will be sure to go. Camellias are one of my favorite flowers, I bet it was beautiful!

Style Court said...

Laura -- the show was really interesting. Just a sea of gorgeous cut flowers in little cups to be judged. Amazing pinks, reds, white...

So glad you'll be able to see the NGA exhibition!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Cannot wait for this show! I've been obsessed with the Ballet Russe and everything related to them since studying it for a term paper in a Picasso course in college. Only a few months to go! Still not sure how they'll display the large scenery....it's an enormous museum but not THAT big!

Style Court said...

Stefan -- I can't wait for your reaction to the show! Very interested in your thoughts on the exhibition design, multimedia etc.

Style Court said...

Meant to add, Stefan, that you'll be able to visit multiple times.

LifeLoveLuxe said...

I've already planned my Amtrak train down to DC for this exhibit - it's a once in a lifetime event! I first heard about the Ballets Russes in Moscow, many years ago, when I stumbled into a tiny side-street shop dedicated to Russian history. I can't wait to see many of these pieces with my own eyes.

Counting the days! Thanks for the exciting reminder.


LifeLoveLuxe said...

I've already planned my Amtrak train down to DC for this exhibit - it's a once in a lifetime event! I first heard about the Ballets Russes in Moscow, many years ago, when I stumbled into a tiny side-street shop dedicated to Russian history. I can't wait to see many of these pieces with my own eyes.

Counting the days! Thanks for the exciting reminder.

Style Court said...

LifeLoveLuxe --

That's great! The exhibition book should be terrific too. Can't wait to be able to share more.