[Nijinsky, Waslaw. (1889-1950)] Algi, Edmond van Saanen. (1882-1938)
"L'après-midi d'un faune" - Original Drawing
An exceptional original ink and wash drawing of Waslav Nijinsky in probably the most famous of all his roles, as the titular Faun in his 1912 ballet for the Ballets Russes. Signed by the artist to the lower right. 9.5 x 12.5 inches.
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.
The Romanian architect, painter, and stage designer Edmond van Saanen Algi was the author of major architectural works in Bucharest including the Academy of Economic Studies building, the Istrate Micescu villa overlooking Cişmigiu Gardens, and Palatul Telefoanelor (with American architects Louis S. Weeks and Walter Froy). As an artist, he is known for his drawings of famous dancers, such as Nijinsky, Duncan and Pavlova.