Costume design for a warrior from The Sacrifice of Atoraga, 1922 stamped on verso gouache on paper 50.5 x 32.5cm (19 7/8 x 12 13/16in).
PROVENANCE: Impressionist and Modern Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, Christie's, London, 24 May 1990, lot 206
EXHIBITED: London, The Alpine Club, W1, arranged by Richard Nathanson, Pavel Tchelitchew: A Collection of Fifty-four Theatre Designs c. 1919-1923, 13-22 December 1976
LITERATURE: R. Nathanson, Pavel Tchelitchew: A Collection of Fifty-four Theatre Designs c. 1919-1923, The Alpine Club, London, Ditchling, 1976, illustrated Russkoe Isskustvo XX Vek/ Issledovaniya i Publikatsii 3, Moscow, Nauka, 2009, back cover, illustrated
1920s Berlin was the epicentre of Russian emigration and as a result, an important focal point for Russian culture. Unlike Paris, Germany did not have an important significant Russian dance company such as Diaghilev's 'Ballet Russes'. However, in 1922 the Russian choreographer Boris Romanov, who had previously worked with Diaghilev, founded a Russian Romantic Theatre, which was financed by Elsa Kruger. The Romantic Theatre aimed to create a new form of theatre fully devoted to the promotion of Russian art and its new forms. Tchelitchew, who knew Kruger from Kiev, was commissioned to design two productions: The Wedding feast of the Boyars and The Sacrifice of Atoraga. The latter production was staged at The Romantic Theatre in 1922 with music by A. Glazunov which developed an Assyrian theme. It 'was a violent pantomime imitating the early erotica with which Diaghilev had provided Ida Rubenstein. These were primarily decorative.' (Lincoln Kirstein, Tchelitchew, Twelvetrees Press, 1994).