Nijinsky, Waslaw. (1889-1950) [Balogh, Rudolf. (1879-1944)]
Signed Photograph in "Spectre de la Rose," 1916
Halftone postcard photograph of Nijinsky in Fokine's "Le Spectre de la rose," signed in brown ink to the lower mount "W Nijinsky / 1916." Sight: 5.25" H x 3.25" W Frame: 11.75: H x 9.5" W. A fine signed example of an iconic image, uncredited on the present example, but the photograph taken by Rudolph Balogh during the Ballets Russes March season in Budapest, March, 1913.
Based on a poem by Théophile Gautier, and choreographed by Michel Fokine to the music of Carl Maria von Weber's piano work Aufforderung zum Tanz, Spectre is a short ballet about a young girl who dreams of dancing with the spirit of a souvenir rose from her first ball. The ballet premiered in Monte Carlo on 19 April 1911 with Nijinsky dancing The Rose and Tamara Karsavina, the Young Girl. It was a great success. Spectre became internationally famous for the spectacular leap Nijinsky made through a window at the ballet's end. Almost certainly taken just before a performance, the present photograph shows Nijinsky as the rose, wearing Bakst's costume of pink-red petals. His wife, Romola, described it: ‘On his head he wore a close-fitting helmet of rose-leaves, and the whole effect was an extremely close blending of different reds, rose-violet, pink, and purple, shading one into another, which is the essentially indefinable tint of the rose. Nijinsky’s make-up was conceived to personify a rose. His face was like that of a celestial insect, his eyebrows suggesting some beautiful beetle which one might expect to find closest to the heart of a rose, and his mouth was like rose petals.’
The leading Hungarian photographer Rudolf Balogh was noted for his documentary reportage. He was responsible for some of the first action photographs of the Ballets Russes taken on their visit to Budapest in 1913.