Léon Bakst: “Dress up like a flower!”

Yelena Terkel

Article: 
EXCLUSIVE PUBLICATIONS
Magazine issue: 
#4 2009 (25)

Léon Bakst hoped that his art would bring more harmony and joy into life. Wishing to make mankind happy and day-dreaming about antiquity and the Orient, what did he really have to offer? Something of a dandy and naive like a child, the artist often made his friends smile. Yet he would succeed in making life shinier and brighter, in bringing beauty closer to everyday life. Bakst was the first Russian artist to win worldwide recognition as a designer.

In his article “On the art of today” the artist postulated that the environment where a person lives needs artistic harmony: “Look what happens: we live in homes built in the previous century, amidst antique furniture with ragged upholstery, amidst paintings valued for their ‘patina’ or yellowness; we look in dull and dim mirrors with charming stains and rust where we barely discern our shameful modern figures attired in dresses made of old fabrics. I must say that I can’t help thinking that everything around me was manufactured by the dead for the dead and that as a contemporary, I am in fact an intruder in this venerable and beautiful collection of things made by the dead.”[1]

Bakst could not and did not want to accept such a state of affairs, but he was not a natural-born revolutionary, fighter or rebel either. He did not dismiss the legacy of the past — quite the opposite, he fully immersed himself in it, seeking that which could make ordinary people alert to the beauty of life. Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes became a venue where the artist could apply his talent, showcase his discoveries, and create an inimitable and spellbinding world of fairy tales. Design for the sets of ballets such as “Cleopatra” (1909, Theatre du Chatelet) and “Scheherazade” (1910, Grand Opera) won for Bakst worldwide fame and literally turned his life upside down. Paris started dreaming of the Orient, so unusual and surprising, spicy and passionate, dazzling and elegant — and it was Bakst’s sets and costumes that created such images in the minds of Parisians.

The exotic Orient quickly became fashionable: society belles were anxious for a change in their apparel, and many of them approached Bakst directly with requests to create exclusive clothes for them. The fashion house owners in Paris, too, started to think that the man who could captivate the public with Oriental motifs would probably be equally good at designing fashion collections. Thus, unexpectedly for him, Bakst came across an opportunity to become a fashionable and highly-paid clothes and accessories designer.

Although the artist thought carefully before becoming engaged with the world of high fashion, his ethical qualms were brushed away quite quickly. In the summer of 1910 Bakst wrote to his wife: “Have you heard about Poiret[2] the dressmaker? C’est le dernier cri [French: He is all the rage now]. Recently he offered me 12,000 francs for 12 drawings of fashionable outfits. Artists advise me against linking my name to his, they are concerned I would become ‘declasse’. But what a sight it would be if in two years (there is no way it can happen earlier) the public in St. Petersburg will wear my apparel!”[3] Bakst had a huge field of action stretching out ahead of him. There was a chance to at least partly fulfill the dreams of his youth — to make the exterior of life aesthetically harmonious. In his article “Costume of a woman of the future” the artist wrote: “Architecture, mostly in Germany, in its eagerness to introduce something new to its art secures the assistance of sculpture and painting in order to create a unity between the style and the impression it produces. So it would be quite logical if, for the sake of overall harmony, men or women who are to live in such a home would dress up to match their environment. Is it not the visual artist’s mission to express the ideas of his age in a costume? This is the essence of what I am trying to do.”[4] This pivotal principle became a cornerstone of the artist’s ensuing attempts to create a style of life where dresses, headwear, wigs, footwear, fabrics, accessories and even perfumes would agree with their settings.

Bakst did not seek to please society and its tastes — he did what was natural for him given his guiding principles, and had always been very particular about the aesthetic component of ambiance and clothing. When he was young, his friends used to make good-natured fun of his collection of neck-ties. Over time Léon even started to see a mystical lining in clothes; certain passages in an autobiographical novel he wrote late in life offer evidence of this. “The collection of ties, famous among my friends, appeared as a motley-coloured Oriental fairy tale against the mysterious backdrop of an opened wardrobe in whose bowels ... side by side hung decapitated and lifeless Baksts, more accurate and stricter than the original but without animate folds. Lying in bed, I was wondering myself at the number of sets of clothes, the yellow and the black rows of shoes. I was aware of that foible of mine. Every time I bought for myself new underwear, a new costume, a new hat, I believed I started a new life, much finer and more interesting than before, and I spent the day after the purchase in high spirits.”[5]

Today it is common knowledge that comfortable clothes and their colour scheme should match an individual’s particular state of mind. Some colours provoke aggression, others, on the contrary, bring tranquility. Costumes with a provocative cut are not conducive to peace of mind, while business dress is inappropriate for a home setting. Bakst was very sensitive to all such things. In 1903, preparing to wed the daughter of the Tretyakov Gallery’s founder Lyubov Pavlovna Gritsenko, he wrote to his fiancee: “Dress up like a flower — your taste is so good! Yes, this is one of the joys of this world! Believe me. Pin flowers to your bodice, scent yourself, wrap yourself up in lace — all that is insanely beautiful — all this is life and its beautiful side.”[6]

In 1903-1904 Bakst was enthusiastically creating costumes for his wife, one of which is held by the Tretyakov Gallery. In the early 1910s the artist for the first time took up fashion design seriously, his female clients including a number of most distinguished personalities: Grand Duchess Yelena Vladimirovna (granddaughter of Alexander II), the French actress Eva Lavalliere, the Russian aristocrats Fekla Orlova-Davydova, the lovely-looking sisters Ydena Oliv and Duchess Natalya Gorchakova[7]. Usually they commissioned garments to Bakst’s design at the most prestigious fashion houses in Paris (at Poiret and at Worth[8]). The artist created especially extravagant and showy costumes for two truly wonderful women, Ida Rubinstein[9] and Luisa Casati[10]. They both were marked by their unconventional beauty, outlandish ideas and tremendous wealth.

For Rubinstein, his life-long friend, the artist created, to great acclaim, costumes of Salome, Cleopatra, Pisanella and others (for stage productions), as well as numerous garments for everyday use. For Marchioness Casati, Bakst designed unique costumes for balls and society receptions as well as exclusive attire for daily use. In 1913 Bakst designed for her costumes of a white harlequin, animal tamer, goddess of the Sun, an Indo-Persian outfit and other clothes. Casati’s Indo-Persian costume included several pale blue gold-threaded full-body veils, a cone-shaped headpiece adorned with pearls, Oriental shoes with upturned toes, and golden claw-shaped finger caps. Ultimately this outfit somewhat differed from Bakst’s initial drawing called “Indo-Persian dance”. Interestingly, the marchioness never danced; rather, she was fond of striking static poses that afforded an ample view of her adorable figure. Luisa Casati also employed Bakst as a designer for entire ball receptions. Many of the artist’s ideas were realized by his spendthrift client at a Pietro Longhi grand ball in the 18 th-century style, which took place in September 1913 in Venice on St. Mark’s Square.

200 black servitors, dressed up to Bakst’s design in white wigs and red velvet camisoles embroidered with pearls, and holding candelabra, were arrayed across the square beside the laid tables. In charge of the overall design of the ball, the artist also received many commissions for costumes for this event whose list of guests included English, French and Italian aristocrats.

Their Russian counterparts did their best to keep up. In 1914 Bakst was recruited to design several balls in St. Petersburg, and several society belles also commissioned from him apparel for the events. A ball organized by Countess Kleinmichel[11] became known for the splendid Oriental costumes worn by guests, and a procession in the style of “The Arabian Nights”. According to the newspapers, “Her Highness Countess Natalya Gorchakova wore an original silver-and-white Indian garb made to Bakst’s design, with gold and silver inserts patterned with high-relief Arabian ornaments, a broad bodice trimmed with a blue velvet bleu person with original shoulder pieces made of white swan’s down, a dazzlingly white and light Indian turban trimmed with white toques and feathers esprit as well as pearls and diamonds, which framed the face in an Oriental mode. Emeralds, sapphires, and silvery tassels and frills bouillonné, also to Bakst’s design, complemented the fairy-tale look of this original outfit.”[12] Perhaps the most famous among the receptions was the so-called “ball of coloured wigs” hosted by Countess Shuvalova[13]. 2,000 invitations were sent out, and a wagon of flowers ordered from Nice. Bakst stipulated that the colour of the ladies’ hair or, rather, wigs should match the colour of their dresses. The balls caused a sensation in St. Petersburg as Bakst gave out comments without a stop: “The notorious slits on the dresses are simply a paraphrase of the more audacious Greek costumes made three years ago for a Diaghilev ballet. The same is true for the buskins, which look so odd in combination with man’s skull-cap worn by half of the world’s women today. The blue, green and golden hair originate from the ‘Cleopatra’ ballet and Gabriele D’Annunzio’s tragedy ‘Pisanella’, which were produced last year, with Ida Rubinstein in the leads, at the Theatre du Chatelet. Ida Rubinstein was the first to put on a coloured (blue) wig in ‘Cleopatra’. And finally, the fashion for motley turbans and Oriental garb, which by now has won over the world, owes its existence solely to the unprecedented success of ‘Scheherezade’.”[14]

In many respects, not only Bakst’s designing talents accounted for this success, but also his attention to detail, as well as careful stylization and execution. This allowed him to avoid vulgarity in the Oriental costumes without sacrificing their dazzle, while choosing among different fabrics was especially important. The artist himself once wrote to the director of the Grand Opera in Paris Jacques Rouche about the necessity of using good fabrics: “I am a couturier too, who, whenever possible, chooses quality fabrics himself (always himself)”.[15] Surviving letters from French fashion houses show that Bakst personally chose textiles for Ida Rubinstein, Alice Garrett and others[16]. As such, fabric design became possible largely as a result of the introduction of mass production of print cloths. During his first visit to the US (from Autumn 1922 to Spring 1923) Bakst met the textile tycoon Arthur Selig, America’s silk king. Selig commissioned from the artist a series of drawings on American Indian themes, to be used on silks; probably a Russian folk design was suggested by Bakst. It was required that the patterns be simple, for the manufacturing of prints was a mass production process.

The lucrative American commissions and the chance to realize his artistic ideas in textile mass production appealed to Bakst. In May 1923 he wrote: “I’ve had clients here for $2,000 worth of fabric (at last!), very lucrative, and my drawings will always find a niche in New York!”[17] However, Bakst’s secretary and American attorney Nikolai Grishkovsky warned the artist at once: “Drawings for prints: when you reassign exclusive rights to American manufacturers you have to be very careful: they all are swindlers, everyone will try to rip you off”[18]. Of course, it took a while for the artist to fathom the smart tactics of American industrialists, and at first he was more interested in artistic and technical issues. Correspondence with Selig is evidence of his interest in the cooperation: the textile king gave to Bakst specific advice (including on colour schemes), expounding details of colour printing in textile production: “On going over the colorings for the various designs, I noticed that most of the changes were in the overcolor and not the ground color. I am sure many of the patterns would look wonderful with dark grounds — such as black — navy blue — brown. I am so anxious to ... have your own colorings and to make a great success with your designs. So I wonder if you would indicate the colorings on same dark grounds.”[19]

When he began to work with Selig, Bakst was not utterly satisfied with the conditions set for him. Back in Paris, he continued to pursue textile design — he wrote proudly about it to Grishkovsky in August: “Drawings for fabrics. Here I’m doing much better than in New York! I was handsomely paid in dollars, a very big sum, and the ownership right until the end of 1924 makes them, as they’ve told me, advertise me like mad, for their very own good. The first house of silk fashion in America.”[20] Bakst and Selig made an agreement about mutually beneficial cooperation, and the textile king’s letters bear testimony to this[21]. Working in Paris, the artist created quite a few fabric designs. Most sketches were sent overseas; fabrics patterned after them were sold at big American stores. The huge success of Bakst’s textiles brought about a series of illegal rip-offs “a-la Bakst”. American industrialists who had bought from the artist several designs wanted to continue to make a profit “with Bakst’s name”; the artist wrote about one of such cases to his attorney: “Tell him to return the items at once, save those selected under the agreement, and allow him to write ‘color Bakst, influence’, but never ‘made to Bakst’s design’.”[22]

Although they were very popular and a huge success, Bakst’s textile designs are little known, especially in Russia. Six months before his death Bakst wrote to his niece Marussia Klyachko: “.My textiles are in the greatest demand across America — all society ladies now sport them.”[23] Some of the sketches are kept at the Garrett family collection in Evergreen House in Baltimore. In March-April 1927 an Art Centre in New York hosted a modest show of Bakst’s “textile drawings”, and in April 1927 a bulletin published there ran black and white photographs of some of them. In 1929 an article by Katherine Gibson about Bakst’s work in textile design[24], illustrated with the American Indian patterns, came out in the American magazine “Design”. Regrettably, the current location of most drawings is unknown (except those now held in Paris[25] and Baltimore[26]).

Equally little is known about Bakst’s ventures into fashionable headgear design, especially fur outfits, and exclusive footwear. Striving for a harmonious look for the modern woman, the artist quite naturally came to appreciate the importance of complementing the dress with fitting headpieces and shoes — hence the coloured wigs, extravagant hats, shawls and high boots. An article “A fashionable celebrity in Paris”, run in the newspaper “Birzhevye vedomosti” [Stock Exchange News], said: “Who introduced green wigs into Parisian society? — Bakst. Who came up with the idea to adorn heels of ladies’ shoes with diamonds? — Bakst. Who invented the special suit of clothes for the 20th-century ladies — a suit liberal, catchy and daring, with all possible variations thereon? — Bakst. Who taught Parisians to paint naked body parts — bosom, neck and upper part of the back, arms — for grand parties and galas? — Bakst. In short, there is no end to Bakst, and so much diversity at that.”[27]

1913-1914 were peak years for Bakst’s fame as a fashion designer. The boldest of innovations were met with cheers. The most daring representatives of the fair sex who unthinkingly went for the latest fashion fads often became an object of derision to onlookers in the street, while newspapers regularly churned out articles, poems and caricatures devoted to Bakst’s fashion fancies. But the biggest fashion houses meanwhile showered him with orders. “Now on to another matter: do you know that Maison Paquin signed me up, and under the agreement, over three years two thirds of its dresses are to be made exclusively after my designs and under my supervision? I’ve driven them mad, just think of it — not only M-me Paquin[28] herself, but all premieres and craftswomen dress up in my style, wear white stockings and checkered patterns — daim [French: chamois], etc. Others quickly followed suit: Camille Roger[29] signed me up with hats for a year, and Hellstern[30] signed me up with footwear design for a year. My sandals are all the rage, and the news about embroidered stockings has probably reached St. Petersburg already. Je touche 10 poursents sur chaque robe, chapeau et chaussure. [French: I receive 10% for every dress, hat and shoe.] For the moment it amuses me greatly. The style of the dresses is fresh and unpretentious, dominated by the combinations of bleu roi [French: bright blue] and white, sometimes with a touch of green. There are also seal-waxy red talleurs with white. My headpieces for home and for visits are very popular — a silver stocking or a night cap of sorts, embroidered, the tip hanging down on the side like a Garibaldi hat with beaded tassels.”[31]

The artist made quite a lot of hat drawings for the famous Parisian fashion houses Jeanne Paquin and Camille Roger. The magazine “Comedie de la mode” devoted a whole page spread to the collaboration between Bakst and Roger, with detailed descriptions and photographs of the hats.[32] Bakst’s heirs still keep his album with sketches of headpieces, which show the diversity of the artist’s style in this field.[33] Contemporaries praised Bakst’s masterpieces not only for their elegance and comfort, but also for their novelty and singularity. The “Daily Mail” newspaper wrote on December 1 1913: “Bakst in his works combined the Russians’ love for barbarian colour effects with the refinement of Aubrey Beardsley’s line...”[34] The singular discoveries in fashion were not all focused on the Oriental themes originating from the popularity of the productions of “Cleopatra” and “Scheherezade” — Bakst succeeded in introducing Russian motifs into Parisian and international fashion. This applies not only to dresses but to fabrics, headgear, and footwear as well.

Living abroad, Bakst started drawing on the Russian historical experience unknown in the West: fur hats styled after boyar’s hats, overcoats resembling the drayman’s sheepskin, folk ornaments and needlework. Gras Forster wrote in his article “Will Bakst dominate the fashions for 1916?”: “Russian ideas start to penetrate fashion. Russian blouses have been accepted. Next came fur trims in Russian style — after Bakst’s sketches — followed by high boots, fur turbans and a realistic emulation of Russian headpieces.”[35] For Paris fur was a luxury, not an indispensable warmer as it was for Russians. However, in this area Bakst’s ideas met with recognition too.

“Dresses will be copiously trimmed with furs. I’ve come up with droll hats, in the mold of Catherine II, the public took to it right away. Paquin too asked to design items with fur for her.”[36] Surviving letters show that the artist negotiated with representatives of fur firms. The artist also worked with a famed producer of fancy shoes “Hellstern and Sons”. Bakst designed for them a wide variety of shoes: from Greek sandals to Cossack-style high boots. Richelieu-style glazed-kid cherry shoes designed by Bakst also enjoyed success. He designed thick-soled shoes for Maria Kuznetsova[37] as Potiphar’s wife in the ballet “The Legend of St. Joseph”. The artist was also famous for trimming ladies’ shoe heels with precious stones.

Not only did Bakst make clothing, head-dress and footwear designs, he also sought to popularize a new life style. In 1923-1924 the artist gave a few lectures in the United States and Canada on fashion, costume, and new trends in clothing style. The lectures were a great success and helped to promote Bakst’s ideas in American fashion.

Bakst’s desire to make life harmonious, to introduce beauty and elegance into everyday life led the artist into the world of fashion. As he himself wrote: “There are no eye-catching spots. Nothing but a grey blur... Nothing for the eager, ‘famished’ eye to admiringly linger on... And one is so anxious for enjoyments and the jubilance of colours not only in paintings, but in the outerwear and day-to-day existence as well.”[38]

P.S. On the American continent there is still an enviable continuity in perception of fashion design as a form of art. In spring and summer 2010 the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection are going to hold jointly two exhibitions — “American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection” and “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity”. They will feature the art of American fashion designers of the mid 19th-late 20th centuries, as well as the works of French fashion houses of Worth and Paquin for which Bakst created his designs. Even a hundred years later the artist’s creative ideas have not lost their appeal.

 

  1. Bakst, Léon. “On the art of today". Stolitsa i usadba [Town and country]. 1914, No. 8, p. 18.
  2. Paul Poiret (1879-1944) - famous French fashion designer and couturier, reformer of fashion; opened a fashion house in Paris in 1903.
  3. Tretyakov Gallery Manuscript Department, Fund 111, item 355, sheet 1 (reverse).
  4. Bakst, Léon. “Costume of a woman of the future". Birzhevye vedomosti [Stock Exchange News], 1913, March 20.
  5. Tretyakov Gallery Manuscript Department, Fund 111, item 2337, sheet 11.
  6. Tretyakov Gallery Manuscript Department, Fund 111, item 39, sheet 2 (reverse).
  7. Yelena Vladimirovna (1882-1957) - a grand duchess, daughter of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (in the 1890s Bakst taught painting to the duke's children, including Yelena); Eva Lavalliere (Eugenie Marie Fenoglio) (1876-1929) - a French actress; Fekla Orlova-Davydova - a countess, nee Baroness Staal, wife of a member of the State Duma Alexei Orlov-Davydov; Yelena Oliv (1879- ?), and Natalya Pavlovna Gorchakova (1880-?) - daughters of a wealthy sugar producer, patron and connoisseur of arts Pavel Ivanovich Kharitonenko.
  8. The fashion business “House of Worth" was founded by Charles Worth (1825-1895) in Paris in 1858. In 1945 Worth merged with the fashion house of Jeanne Paquin.
  9. Ida Rubinstein (1883-1960) - actress and dancer. Orphaned early in life, she inherited a big fortune; she decided to devote herself to art, performed in Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, and later set up her own company.
  10. Luisa Casati (nee Amman) (1881-1957) - a marchioness famed for her astonishing beauty and extravagance, a muse of poets and painters, and a patroness of arts.
  11. Maria Kleinmichel (18461931) - a countess, daughter of Senator Eduard von Keller, the hostess of a fashionable society salon in St. Petersburg.
  12. Peterburgskaya gazeta (Petersburg newspaper), 1914, January 25.
  13. Yelizaveta Shuvalova, nee Baryatinskaya (1855-1938) - the hostess of a fashionable society salon in St. Petersburg famous for her balls and philanthropy, and a member of the Society for Protection and Preservation of Art and History Landmarks in Russia.
  14. Utro Rossii [Russia's morning], 1914, February 11.
  15. Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Bibliotheque-Musee de l'Opera National de Paris. Fonds Rouche. Th. des Arts. R. 8 (4).
  16. Tretyakov Gallery Manuscript Department, Fund 111, items 2140-2142, 2145.
  17. Russian Culture Fund, Archival Library, Nikolai Grishkovsky's fund.
  18. Manuscript Department, State Tretyakov Gallery, Fund 111, item 1047, sheet 4 (reverse).
  19. Manuscript Department, State Tretyakov Gallery, Fund 111, item 1934,sheet 1.
  20. Russian Culture Fund, Archival Library, Grishkovsky's fund.
  21. Tretyakov Gallery Department of Manuscripts, Fund 111, items 1935-1939.
  22. Russian Culture Fund, Archival Library, Grishkovsky's fund.
  23. Tretyakov Gallery Manuscript Department, Fund 111, item 2644, sheet 2.
  24. Gibson K. Textile Designs by Léon Bakst // Design, Syracuse (New York), 1929. Vol. 31, pp. 109-113.
  25. The Constantinowitz family collection, Paris.
  26. Evergreen House Foundation (USA, Baltimore).
  27. Birzhevye vedomosti [Stock Exchange News]. 1914, January 20.
  28. The fashion house of Jeanne Paquin, one of the first French female designers of clothes, operated until 1954, at the address Rue de la Paix, 21.
  29. The fashion house of Camille Roger, a famous French couturier and designer of hats whose fame peaked in the 1920s, was situated at Rue de la Paix, 6
  30. “Maison Hellstem & Sons" (founded in Paris in the 1870s, located near Place Vendome) was one of the first fashion houses to specialize exclusively in footwear. It had its best years in the 1920s.
  31. Manuscript Department, State Tretyakov Gallery, Fund 111, item 435, sheet 1 (reverse).
  32. Comedie de la Mode. 1913, April 20.
  33. The Constantinowitz family collection, Paris.
  34. Daily Mail. 1913, December 1.
  35. Sentinel. 1915, December 26.
  36. Tretyakov Gallery Manuscript Department, Fund 111, items 373, sheet 1.
  37. Kuznetsova Maria (1880-1966) - opera singer (soprano) and dancer. Daughter of the artist Nikolai Kuznetsov. In 1922 she set up in Paris her own theatrical enterprise (in collaboration with Léon Bakst).
  38. Birzhevye vedomosti [Stock Exchange News]. 1914, January 20.

Illustrations

Léon BAKST. Sketch of a costume for Lyubov Bakst. 1903
Léon BAKST. Sketch of a costume for Lyubov Bakst. 1903
Tretyakov Gallery
Léon Bakst. Paris. Photo. 1912
Léon Bakst. Paris. Photo. 1912
Tretyakov Gallery
Léon Bakst. Mentone. Photo. 1903
Léon Bakst. Mentone. Photo. 1903
Tretyakov Gallery
Léon BAKST. Hat designs (sheet from an album) [mid-1910s]
Léon BAKST. Hat designs (sheet from an album) [mid-1910s]
The Constantinowitz family collection, Paris
Invitation to a lecture “Colour and costume” delivered by Léon Bakst in Toronto on March 5 1923
Invitation to a lecture “Colour and costume” delivered by Léon Bakst in Toronto on March 5 1923
Tretyakov Gallery
Léon BAKST. A fantasy on modern costume. 1912
Léon BAKST. A fantasy on modern costume. 1912
Léon BAKST. Sketch of a costume “Aglaia”. 1913
Léon BAKST. Sketch of a costume “Aglaia”. 1913
Léon BAKST. Portrait of Luisa Casati. 1912
Léon BAKST. Portrait of Luisa Casati. 1912
Private collection
Léon BAKST. Sketch of a costume for Luisa Casati “Indo-Persian dance”. 1912
Léon BAKST. Sketch of a costume for Luisa Casati “Indo-Persian dance”. 1912
Léon BAKST. Negro, Court Secretary, Executioner. 1911
Léon BAKST. Negro, Court Secretary, Executioner. 1911
Sketches of costumes to a mystery play by Gabriele DʼAnnunzio “Le martyre de Saint Sébastien“ (The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian) Ida Rubinsteinʼs company. Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. Tretyakov Gallery
Léon BAKST. Sketch of a costume of Countess Natalya Gorchakova, made for Countess Maria Kleinmichelʼs ball. 1914
Léon BAKST. Sketch of a costume of Countess Natalya Gorchakova, made for Countess Maria Kleinmichelʼs ball. 1914
Léon BAKST. Womanʼs Dress Designed for a fancy-dress ball. c 1914
Léon BAKST. Womanʼs Dress Designed for a fancy-dress ball. c. 1914
Sketch of a costume. Tretyakov Gallery
Léon BAKST. Salome. Sketch of the costume for Ida Rubinstein. 1908
Léon BAKST. Salome. Sketch of the costume for Ida Rubinstein. 1908
Tretyakov Gallery
Léon BAKST. Hat designs (sheet from an album) [mid-1910s]
Léon BAKST. Hat designs (sheet from an album) [mid-1910s]
The Constantinowitz family collection, Paris
Léon Bakst. A photo of Vaslav Nijinsky. Karlsbad. 1911
Léon Bakst. A photo of Vaslav Nijinsky. Karlsbad. 1911
State Tretyakov Gallery. First publication
Léon BAKST. A fantasy on modern costume. 1910
Léon BAKST. A fantasy on modern costume. 1910
Ida Rubinstein as Salome. Paris. Photo. 1912
Ida Rubinstein as Salome. Paris. Photo. 1912
“Scheherazade” ballet. Sets and costumes by Léon Bakst
“Scheherazade” ballet. Sets and costumes by Léon Bakst. Grand Opera production in Paris. Photo. 1914
Ball hosted by Countess Maria Kleinmichel. Photo. 1914
Ball hosted by Countess Maria Kleinmichel. Photo. 1914
Ball hosted by Countess Yelizaveta Shuvalova. Photo. 1914
Ball hosted by Countess Yelizaveta Shuvalova. Photo. 1914
Ball hosted by A. Leonard. Photo. 1914
Ball hosted by A. Leonard. Photo. 1914
Ida Rubinsteinʼs visiting card with a note for Bakst: “To my dear close friend”
Ida Rubinsteinʼs visiting card with a note for Bakst: “To my dear close friend”
Tretyakov Gallery. First publication
Arthur Seligʼs letter to Léon Bakst. July 28 1923
Arthur Seligʼs letter to Léon Bakst. July 28 1923
Tretyakov Gallery. First publication
Léon BAKST. A textile print pattern sketch. Early 1920s
Léon BAKST. A textile print pattern sketch. Early 1920s
The Constantinowitz family collection, Paris
Léon BAKST. A fantasy on modern costume. Dioné. 1912
Léon BAKST. A fantasy on modern costume. Dioné. 1912
Opera singer Germaine Bailac in a costume designed by Léon Bakst. Photo. 1913
Opera singer Germaine Bailac in a costume designed by Léon Bakst. Photo. 1913
Léon BAKST. A textile print pattern sketch. Early 1920s
Léon BAKST. A textile print pattern sketch. Early 1920s
The Constantinowitz family collection, Paris
Sheet from “Comédie de la Mode” magazine with an article about hats designed by Bakst. 1913
Sheet from “Comédie de la Mode” magazine with an article about hats designed by Bakst. 1913
Letter from the fashion firm “House of Worth” to Léon Bakst about selection of fabrics for Ida Rubinsteinʼs costume. June 18 [1921-1924]
Letter from the fashion firm “House of Worth” to Léon Bakst about selection of fabrics for Ida Rubinsteinʼs costume. June 18 [1921-1924]
Tretyakov Gallery. First publication
American actress and singer Ethel Levy in a costume designed by Léon Bakst. Photo. 1914
American actress and singer Ethel Levy in a costume designed by Léon Bakst. Photo. 1914
Léon Bakst. New York. Photo. 1923
Léon Bakst. New York. Photo. 1923
Léon BAKST. A textile print pattern sketch. Early 1920s
Léon BAKST. A textile print pattern sketch. Early 1920s
The Constantinowitz family collection, Paris
Léon BAKST. A textile print pattern sketch. Early 1920s
Léon BAKST. A textile print pattern sketch. Early 1920s
The Constantinowitz family collection, Paris

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