After the Ilya Repin and Russian Landscape exhibitions, another Russia-oriented exhibition, Working for Diaghilev. The publisher, impresario and patron, Sergei Diaghilev, was one of the greatest artistic innovators of the previous century. He was the first to attract visual artists to work with composers and choreographers in order to create theatrical Gesamt works of art for a broad public. The world-renowned ballets that he produced in Paris at the beginning of the twentieth century left a permanent stamp on the world of dance.
In Western Europe, Diaghilev is primarily known as the source of inspiration and impresario of the dance company Les Ballets Russes, which completely innovated the dance world in the period 1910-1920 and re-established the eminent position of ballet among the arts. But Diaghilev also had a profound influence on the other visual arts. He co-operated with famous painters such as Matisse, Picasso, Di Chirico and Cocteau, with choreographers such as Fokine, Massine and Balanchine, and with composers such as Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Ravel and Debussy.
The exhibition presents Diaghilev's artistic legacy on an unprecedented scale. Paintings, drawings, costumes and decors from more than 15 museological and private collections in Russia, France, the UK, the USA and Spain will be brought together for the first time in the Groninger Museum. The exhibition displays work by unknown but highly-gifted Russian artists originating from Mir Iskusstva, such as Michail Vrubel, Valentin Serov, Alexander Golovin, Lev Bakst, Natalya Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov. The presentation of work by these artists will illustrate the strong influence of Russian culture on the development of the West European avant-garde. The effect of Russian artists on Western art, which has been rather underexposed until recently, forms the core substance of the exhibition.
Sjeng Scheijen, a Slavist and specialist in the field of Russian art, compiled the exhibition. Curator Patty Wageman is responsible for the production. The cataloque Working for Diaghilev is sold out.
The Diaghilev Festival (26 January - 30 January 2005) Diaghilev's artistic legacy is only complete with the addition of music and dance. Accordingly, in addition to the exhibition, a large-scale Diaghilev Festival was organized with the participation of the most prestigious dance and music companies in the world.
The exhibition has only been made possible due to a financial contribution from the Stichting Fondsbeheer Culturele Relatie-evenementen Gasunie (Foundation Fund for Cultural Relations Events of the Gas Unie).
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