[Bakst, Léon Samoilovitch. (1866–1924)] Levinson, André. (1887–1933)

Matera balets [Masters of Ballet, Studies in the History and Theory of Dance] - From the collections of Léon Bakst and Serge Lifar

St. Petersburg: Solovyov. 1914. First edition of the Russian ballet historian's account of the ballet masters and teachers of the 18th to 19th centuries, primarily in France. Text in Russian. 132, [4] pp. 22 full-page illus. plates; mounted illustration heading each chapter; color frontispiece of Fanny Ellsler and color print of the four stars of the 1845 ballet Pas de Quatre, both mounted on blue pages. Errata slip tipped to front free endpaper. Softcover. Spine hand-labeled in ink. Heavy wear to the covers and spine, with block partially detached and losses to spine. Internally very good, overall good. 7.5 x 11 inches.

From the collection of artist and Ballets Russes costume/set designer Léon Bakst, thence from the collection of Serge Lifar. Labeled with the Serge Lifar collection stamp to the front free endpaper and also labeled "Collection Bakst" in pencil.

From the collection of the important dancer and choreographer Serge Lifar. Lifar made his debut at the Ballets Russes in 1923, where he became the principal dancer in 1925 and was considered the successor to Nijinsky. He was cast at the age of 21 opposite Tamara Karsavina in Nijinska's Roméo et Juliette (1926); Karsavina was twice his age. He originated leading roles in three Balanchine ballets for the Ballet Russes, including La Chatte (1927). After Diaghilev's death in 1929, he became the director of the Paris Opéra Ballet, a position he held during three decades until he was forced to retire in 1958. Beginning in the 1920's and continuing until his death, Lifar amassed a large collection of props, designs, costumes, art, and other dance and music artifacts, much of which came from Diaghilev either before or after his death, or from other Ballets Russes associates. Sotheby's conducted several sales on his behalf in the 1970's–80's, and the final auction of his collection in 2012 saw record-breaking sales. (16082)


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