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From archives to center stage: newly processed Theater Division designs and originals

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The Harem, 1924The Harem, 1924In the recent weeks, staff of the Special Formats Processing unit have been hard at work arranging, re-housing, and cataloging a number of collections, consisting of original costume and scene designs, and caricatures from the Library for the Performing Arts Billy Rose Theater Division. You may have seen samples from these stunning, vibrant original works in past exhibitions at the Lincoln Center, but—not surprisingly—there is much more to be seen.

As a whole, the collections in their own, unique way draw a picture of the history of theatrical costume and set design for theater, dance and opera in New York City during the last decades of the 19th and through the 20th century.

Pierre Bertin as Paul in "Aladin" (n.d.)Pierre Bertin as Paul in "Aladin" (n.d.)

Whether pencil sketches or full-color designs, each collection is also a glimpse into the creative process of the artists who created them, as well as of the entire production to which they contributed. And although, for all intents and purposes, these original designs were created primarily as guides, or stepping stones to the creation of a three-dimensional manifestation of the designer’s intention, one can’t help but be amazed at their value as works of art in their own accord.

The first installment of this project includes the following 17 collections:

*T-VIM 2010-002
    Leon Bakst Designs
*T-VIM 2010-024    John Boyt Costume Designs
*T-VIM 2010-025    Advertising and Publicity Originals
*T-VIM 2010-026    Aline Bernstein Designs
*T-VIM 2010-027    David Ffolkes Designs
*T-VIM 2010-032    Percy Macquoid Costume Designs for The Merchant of Venice
*T-VIM 2010-033    Gordon Micunis Designs
*T-VIM 2010-034    Kay Nelson Costume Designs for A Lion Is in the Streets
*T-VIM 2010-035    Sothern and Marlowe Collection
*T-VIM 2010-036    Freddy Wittop Costume Designs
*T-VIM 2010-037    Patricia Smart Portraits
*T-VIM 2010-038    Theatre Program Cover Designs
*T-VIM 2010-041    Percy Anderson Designs
*T-VIM 2010-042    T. M. Cleland Costume Designs for Scaramouche
*T-VIM 2010-046    John P. Campbell Designs for Dark Rosaleen
*T-VIM 2010-049    Rose Bogdanoff Costume Designs for Lysistrata
*T-VIM 2010-052    Kate Friedheim Costume Designs

This is a work in progress, so stay tuned for the next collections available!

All collections can be accessed at the Library for the Performing Arts.

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