When Art Danced with Music: Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929….
The Ballets Russes—the most innovative dance company of the 20th century—propelled the performing arts to new heights through groundbreaking collaborations between artists, composers, choreographers, dancers, and fashion designers, with such familiar names as Picasso, Stravinsky, Balanchine, Nijinsky, and Chanel, among many others. On view from May 12 through September 2, 2013, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington—the sole US venue—Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music showcases some 135 original costumes, set designs, paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, photographs, posters, and film clips in a theatrical multimedia installation in the East Building.
On view for the first time in a museum in the United States are the largest objects ever exhibited inside the Gallery: Natalia Goncharova’s backdrop for The Firebird (1926), measuring 51.5 feet wide by 33.5 feet tall, and the front curtain for The Blue Train (1924), 38.5 feet wide by 34 feet tall, designed by Pablo Picasso and painted by Prince Alexander Schervashidze, Diaghilev’s principal set designer. Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929) founded the Ballets Russes in Paris in 1909.
“This landmark exhibition celebrates one of the most dazzling cultural enterprises of the 20th century,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. “These historic collaborations initiated by Diaghilev revolutionized the art of ballet. We are very grateful to lenders from around the world, particularly the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and to the sponsors and supporters who have made it possible for the Gallery to present this exhibition.”
The exhibition has been adapted from Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929, conceived by and first shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in 2010. In Washington, the exhibition includes some 80 works from the V&A’s renowned collection of dance artifacts, as well as some 50 objects not seen in London, on loan from 20 museums and private collections, among them the Dansmuseet in Sweden and the National Gallery of Australia.
The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. With the exception of the atrium and library, the galleries in the East Building will be closing gradually beginning in July 2013 and will remain closed for approximately three years for Master Facilities Plan and renovations. For specific updates on gallery closings, visit www.nga.gov/renovation.
For information call (202) 737-4215 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (202) 842-6176, or visit the Gallery’s Web site at www.nga.gov. Follow the Gallery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ngadc.