"Etonne moi!" Sergey Diaghilev and Russian Ballet Seasons (Monaco)
Monaco, Villa Sauber
July 9 – September 27, 2009
Monaco, Salle des Arts du Sporting d’Hiver
July 9 – August 30, 2009
The project curators are:
John Bowlt (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, professor)
Zelfira Tregulova (The Moscow Kremlin Museums, Vice-director)
"Etonne moi! (Astonish me!)"
"(...) I was at the absurd age when one thinks himself a poet and I sensed a polite resistance in Diaghilev. I questioned him and he answered: "Astonish me; I'll wait for you to astonish me!" That sentence saved me the trouble of an illustrious career. I quickly realized that one does not astound a Diaghilev in a couple of weeks. From that moment, I decided to die and resurrect (...)."
Jean COCTEAU – a personal letter of 1939.
The name of Sergey Diaghilev, the organizer of Russian Ballet performances in Paris (1909 - 1929) is associated with the outstanding flourishing of Russian Ballet. Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet Seasons became a notable phenomenon of Russian culture of the early XX centaury. Not only did Diaghilev create a Ballet Company of world famous stars, but managed to engage the best painters and composers of the time in the process of performance production. For many of them Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet Seasons had been a source of inspiration for a long time. Nowadays the artifacts of the Russian Ballet Seasons belong to the XX century cultural heritage of universal significance.
On July 8, 2009 the exposition named "Etonne moi!" Sergey Diaghilev and Russian Ballet Seasons” opened in the Principality of Monaco in the halls of Villa Sauber, The New National Museum of Monaco (Nouveau Mus?e National de Monaco). The famous stage curtain, created by Pablo Picasso for the ballet “The Blue Train” was the Pearl of the exhibition. The curtain was donated by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to be displayed separately in Monaco’s Sporting d’Hiver Hall of Arts. His Serene Highness The Sovereign Prince of Monaco Albert II and Her Royal Highness Princess of Hanover Caroline, Hereditary Princess of Monaco, took part in the opening ceremony.
The exposition at the New National Museum of Monaco consisted of more than 200 items belonging to international state and private collections to include paintings and drawings by such masters as Leon Bakst, Alexander Benois, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, George Braque, as well as models of the scenery and more than 20 costumes. To recreate the atmosphere of Diaghilev’s productions the video documentaries and photographs were presented featuring the Russian Ballet soloists Anna Pavlova, Vazlav Nizhinskiy, Tamara Krasavina and others.
To mark the opening of the exhibition an illustrated catalogue was prepared by specialists of the New National Museum of Monaco, the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, the State Tretyakov Gallery and SKIRA Publishing House was published.