[Ballet Russe] Swanson, George Allen. (1908-1962)
Rostova and Youskevitch in "L'après-midi d'un faune"
Watercolor on paper, signed 'George Alan Swanson' lower right, titled and inscribed 'Igor Youskevitch / Lubov Rostova' upper left, signed 'George Alan Swanson', titled, and inscribed 'Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo / Lubov Rostova / Igor Youskevitch' upper left. 16 x 12 3/4 in. (sight), 22 1/2 x 18 in. (frame). Beautifully framed.
Set to "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune" by Claude Debussy and with costumes and sets by Léon Bakst, the ballet was first performed in the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on May 29, 1912. Considered to be one of the first modern ballets, the dancers were presented as part of a large tableau, a staging reminiscent of an ancient Greek vase painting. Presented in bare feet and rejecting classical formalism, the dancers often moved across the stage in profile as if on a bas relief, as can be seen in the present image. The work had an overtly erotic subtext beneath its façade of Greek antiquity, ending with a scene of graphic sexual desire.