The Jerome Robbins Dance Division just completed a two year project to catalog our backlog of dance related artwork. We are thrilled to announce that a total of 4,349 objects were cataloged and are now available to the public for research. Retired staff member Susan Au was hired for this project and she researched, cataloged, and rehoused these materials. This blog post is taken from her final report on the project. This project was made possible through funds generously donated from the Friends of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, which is co-chaired by Anne Bass and Caroline Cronson.
One of the recently cataloged drawings is *MGZGD Anon Omb 1 Ombre heureuse dans l’opera de Castor et Pollux. Captioned: Acad[em]ie R[oya]le de Musique. Année 1764.
Two broad categories of objects were included in the backlog: original artworks (drawings, paintings, collages, and art prints) and mass-produced prints, which encompassed easel prints, sheet music covers, illustrations from books and periodicals, costume and fashion prints, and reproductive prints made as copies of paintings. Two items were classed as realia, or three-dimensional objects, inlcuding a box bearing a miniature portrait of the eighteenth-century dancer-choreographer Maximilien Gardel.
The mediums represented among the original artworks mainly include watercolor, gouache, pencil, pastel, charcoal, and conte crayon; the art prints and mass-produced prints include engravings, etchings, wood engravings, lithographs, photogravures, monotypes, and serigraphs (silkscreen).
The painting selection below is José C. Basarte's design for a front curtain for Ruth Page's ballet Camille, circa 1959. It's made of gouache and oil and is call number *MGZGF Bas J Cam 1.
José C. Basarte's design for a front curtain for Ruth Page's ballet Camille.
The subject matter of the backlog included set and costume designs, portraits and action images of dancers, scenes from theatrical productions, representations of dancers or dancing from various historical periods or geographical regions, illustrations from dance manuals, and caricatures and cartoons of real or imaginary dancers.
Among the designers represented are: Horace Armistead, Cecil Beaton, Alexandre Benois, Christian Berard, Eugene Berman, Alvin Colt, Mstislav Dobujinsky, Joe Eula, Alexandra Exter, Peter Farmer, Leonor Fini, David Hays, Desmond Heeley, Barbara Karinska, Willa Kim, Konstantin Korovin, Mikhail Larionov, Robert Tyler Lee, Jo Mielziner, Motley, Sally Ann Parsons, Salvatore and Angelo Pinto, Nicolas Remisoff, Oliver Smith, Yolanda Sonnabend, Pavel Tchelitchew, Rouben Ter-Arutunian, and Robin Wagner
Artists whose original artworks of dancers (rather than set or costume designs) are represented in the collection include: George Barbier, Alfred Bendiner, Anselmo Bucci, Ray Ciarrocchi, Andre Dunoyer de Segonzac, Valentine Hugo, Simon Lissim, Tina Mackler, Winold Reiss, Moses Soyer, Abraham Walkowitz.
*MGZGA Hul E Dan 1-5. Edward Hull uncolored drawing in brown ink, depicting figures on a terrace bordered by a balustrade, has an additional drawing of two figures outside the line border: a male figure holds sheet music and sings the words “Va sempre piano, pia dolce sara mia carina” while a female figure appears to listen. Esward Hull, a British printmaker and drawing master was active in London, according to the British Museum, from 1816-1829.