Exhibition book



Edited by Robert Bell
with essays by Christine Dixon, Helena Hammond,
Michelle Potter and Debbie Ward


THE BALLETS RUSSES has engaged people for 100 years, ever since Russian-born Sergei Diaghilev created this dynamic avant-garde company.

Diaghilev brought together some of the most important visual artists of the 20th century—Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, André Derain, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Georges Braque, Giorgio de Chirico, Léon Bakst, Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov and more—who worked as costume and stage designers with composers such as Igor Stravinsky, choreographers such as Michel Fokine and dancers such as Vaslav Nijinsky, infusing new life and creative energy into the performing arts of the time.

Premiering in Paris, the Ballets Russes, for the brief period of its existence (1909–29), created exotic, extravagant and charming theatrical spectacle but also critical discussion and technical innovation, as well as exuding glamour—and often creating scandal—wherever it appeared.

The costumes featured in this book are drawn entirely from the National Gallery of Australia’s world-renowned collection of Ballets Russes costumes and ephemera. Through the costumes, drawings, programs and posters, the visual spectacle of the Ballets Russes is brought back into view for a contemporary audience to appreciate the revolution it was and the ongoing influence it continues to have today.

A must for anyone interested in the performing arts, the intersection of art and design, and costume and fashion.



Pub date: Dec 2010
264 pages
290 x 240 mm, pb with jacket
lavishly illustrated in
full colour
ISBN 9780642541574

RRP AUD $49.95
$39.95 special NGA price
Available from the NGA Shop, NGA mail order & selected bookstores.

Distributed by Thames & Hudson Australia, Thames & Hudson UK and University of Washington Press, USA

Published in conjunction with a major exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
10 Dec 10 – 20 Mar 11


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