All exhibitions

A Feast of Wonders:
Sergey Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes

To The 100 Anniversary of "Russian Ballets" in Paris

October 28, 2009 – January 31, 2010

Organizers: The State Tretyakov Gallery, the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, the New 
National Museum of Monaco
Curators: John Boult, Zelfira Tregulova, Eugenia Iliukhina, Irina Shumanova
Place: The State Tretyakov Gallery at 10, Krymsky Val, halls #60–61

"A Feast of Wonders: Sergey Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes" was a large-scale international project devoted to the famous "Russian Ballets". In the centre of the exhibition were the activities and the personality of Sergey Diaghilev (1872 - 1929), a notable figure of Russian cultural life of the early XX century, a brilliant impresario, theatre producer and world-renowned promoter of Russian culture. In 2009 the 100 anniversary of Diaghilev's Russian Ballet Seasons was celebrated all over the world with a series of musical and ballet festivals.

The first performances of the "Russian Ballet" Company were the ballets "Armida’s pavilion", "Polovtsian dances" and "Feast" performed at Theatre du Chatelet on May 19, 1909. The triumphant tours of the Russian ballet Company to Paris, London and Madrid had won the "Russian Ballets" great fame. The ballet projects of Sergey Diaghilev in which the most famous choreographers, composers, and dancers from different countries were involved, had influenced many spheres of the XXth century art scene, such as music, scenography, choreography, and painting.

The unique content of the exposition presented in Moscow included more than 500 masterpieces: about half of them belong to The State Tretiakov Gallery, and the rest – to private museums and collections in Russia, Europe, and the USA. In accordance with Diaghilev’s logic in creating the ballet programs and directing the tours, the exposition had several thematic sections devoted to classical ballet, oriental trends, the Russian theme, and avant-garde productions.

The exhibition was composed of a variety of items: posters, costumes and scenery, designs, photographs of dancers and ballet mise-en-sc?nes, portraits of famous art people. Many of the works provided by private owners from different countries were shown in Russia for the first time, among them the unique theatrical scenery models (1920 - 1930) from the collection of the New National Museum of Monaco. About 250 designs of scenery and costumes were created by famous Russian and French painters who in many aspects had shaped the features of the twentieth century fine art.

The artists presented at the exhibition: L. Bakst, A. Benois, N. Goncharova, M. Larionov, N. Roerich, P. Picasso, G. Braque, H. Matisse, G. de Chirico, A. Derain, as well as the Russian painters-immigrants such as P. Tchelitchew, N. Gabo, and A. Pevsner, whose pieces are but rarely found in Russian collections. For the first time about 50 original costumes created for the "Russian Ballets" were shown. Among them – such a rarity as the constructivist costumes for the ballet "Chout" created by M. Larionov's design as well as the hand-decorated costumes by H. Matisse for the ballet "La Chant du Rossignol". Other outstanding objects included the magnificent (10x10 meters) curtain designed by Picasso for the ballet "The Blue Train", which was provided by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The exhibition project was realized by the State Tretyakov Gallery in cooperation with the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation and the New National Museum of Monaco. A slightly different version of the exhibition had been shown in the Principality of Monaco, where the rehearsal base of the "Russian Ballets" company had been situated for 18 years.

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