Nijinsky, Waslaw. (1889–1950)

Original Postcard Photograph in "Giselle"

Rare original photograph postcard of the great Ballets Russes dancer, shown in costume for Albrecht in Act 1 of Giselle, which caused Nijinsky's dismissal from the Imperial Theatres, 1910.  Photographed by Leiser of Berlin and issued by Augener of London. Very fine. 3.5 x 5.5 inches (8.8 x 13.5 cm).

The great dancer was dismissed from the Mariinsky Theatre for appearing on-stage during a performance as Albrecht in Giselle wearing tights without the modesty trunks, which were then obligatory for male dancers in the company.  The costume by Leon Bakst - not by Benois as sometimes claimed - appears to have been modified here from the original which caused the scandal.

Following his dismissal from the Imperial Ballet in 1911 he became a permanent member of the Ballets Russes Company and danced lead roles in Fokine's new productions Le Spectre de la Rose, and Igor Stravinsky's Petrouchka. He also cheorographed some of the new works being produced by the company amongst them L'après-midi d'un faune (1912) and Le Sacre du Printemps (1913). His association with Diaghilev came to an abrupt end when he married Romola de Pulsky on the 1913 tour to South America. When an enraged Diaghilev (who had previously been in a relationship with Nijinsky) discovered this marriage he dismissed Nijinsky from the company. 

Although Diaghilev did arrange for Nijinsky to appear with the Ballets Russes on their North American tour in 1916, Nijinsky's efforts to establish his own company failed to meet with success. His career ended tragically early as in 1919 he had a nervous breakdown and was subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia. Nijinsky spent the rest of his life in and out of psychiatric hospitals and asylums and died in a London based clinic in 1950. (16494)

Unsigned Photograph