Dessins sur les danses de Vaslav Nijinsky.Paris : 1913 Stock Code: 136225
NotesFirst edition, number 260 of 340 copies on wove paper, from an edition of 390. Barbier's first book was inspired by the impact of the Ballets Russes' first seasons in Paris, and of their phenomenal male lead in particular. "We have our despair, our sadness, our violated love and this thing, the most dread of all - the passing of the days between our hands, helpless to cherish aught they give. But in the spring, the Russian Ballets and Nijinsky return. And all is forgotten. Not forgotten, suspended An enchantment suspends the course of our life. Nijinsky dances" (Francis de Miomandre). During his brief career Nijinsky was without doubt "the most famous male dancer in the world, a pre-eminence due in part to his extraordinary virtuosity But it was not his virtuosity alone that made him such a powerful stage presence. As contemporary reports make clear, Nijinsky was a great and unusual actor. The ideal Fokine interpreter, he was able to expand a simple choreographic design into a rich dramatic portrait, using, in keeping with Fokine's dicta, the whole body as an expressive instrument Nijinsky's influence as a dancer was immediate and huge. That ballet, nearly extinguished artistically in western Europe, was revived in this century is due to him and other great dancers of his generation, such as Anna Pavlova and Karsavina That male ballet, utterly extinguished, was also revived is due to him pre-eminently. Nijinsky was the first real ballet star of the male sex that Europe had seen since the retirement of Auguste Vestris nearly a century earlier. He initiated a renaissance" (Cohen, The International Encyclopaedia of Dance IV, pp. 646-8).
This superb tribute to the art of Nijinsky, produced at the height of his fame, is illustrated with plates of his most renowned performances to date - Schéhérazade, Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune, L'Oiseau de feu, Le Spectre de la Rose, Pétrouchka, and Les Sylphides. And who better to capture the innovative spirit of this great artist than Georges Barbier, the acknowledged master of the elegantly flexed deco line, and its finest exponent in the illustrative manner? Barbier began his career as a costume and set designer for the Ballet Russes and was inspired Nijinsky's performances to produce this, his first book. Barbier's later publications were notable for the superb quality of the pochoir printing. This is a simpler production by far, but it is difficult to imagine a more strongly evocative homage.
Folio (325 x 265 mm). Later tan half morocco in art deco style, black paper-covered boards sprinkled in gilt and old gold, lettered in black, sans serif, gilt rules to spine and front board, wrappers and spine bound in, mustard yellow endpapers, top edge gilt.
12 line-block plates coloured <em>en pochoir</em> and 3 vignettes in black.
A little rubbed, joints professionally repaired, some scrapes on the boards carefully recoloured, as very good copy.
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