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Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst)
 Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst)
Russia 1866−1924
Biography and information
Safely send to the life story of Leon Bakst lovers to share art on high and low, to speak scornfully about fashion and assure that theaters like thin nature, and "any rags" is a very stupid woman. Send them to read a biography of Bakst and to admire its theatrical sketches, tell them that the harem pants, turbans and dresses with high slit came into the fashion world of theatre, and brought them Leon Bakst — Russian artist exiled because of the Jews from St. Petersburg, the legendary designer of "Russian seasons" Diaghilev, openepi Paris and conquered America Jewish boy Leib Chaim Izrailevich.

When Bakst was not yet Bakst

Leib Chaim (Leo) Izrailevich Rosenberg. It was the name of a child born in 1866 in a small town of Grodno in a large family of a Jewish merchant. The name of the trouble was not limited. For the pencil the boy grabbed quite small, and since the Torah does not allow to depict people, discovered in a stack of paper drawn human figures are not pleased the father.

Bakst is short for Baxter, the names of the maternal grandfather, on which the future of the artist is an influence. Grandfather was a famous tailor, and have lived long enough in Paris, his home in St. Petersburg was furnished to the Paris fashion. When the parents discovered this nightmare and horror, the kid decided to draw people girl sought the protection of his grandfather, and he got it. Grandfather is not only allowed at home to draw and plenty to admire on the walls with paintings, but managed to sow the seed of doubt in the parents: could the child really talent? And talent the boy possessed undoubted, in connection with which the St. Petersburg Academy of fine arts, where he took (though only a volunteer), was a logical next step.

After a few years out of the Academy he had to leave because his work on a religious theme "is not consistent with the canons". And what lay behind the official wording? Leo Rozenberg wrote the story "Mourning of Christ" (the work has not survived), and all the heroes of his paintings were distinguished characteristic of the Jewish people. Of course, he did not go against it neither historical nor against the truth of art, however, the leadership of the Academy such freedom is very, very much. However, it was for the best. Parents separated and the young man provided for his family. Required immediately to apply a talent in order to earn money, and he found a space, designer of children’s books.

Leon Bakst "World of art"

Even during his studies, Lev Rosenberg entered the society of galeristes Alberta. However, more importantly, there he met with his younger brother albert, Shura. Yes, the same Alexander Benoiswith whom together they will be the organizers of the "World of art", and later in conjunction with Diaghilev, too, were part of the circle of Benoit, will be to publish the same magazine. In fact, in the house Alberta — "world of art" and composition. "The art world" opposed the moralistic and accusatory tone of the Wanderers and advocated pure beauty. And when Rosenberg became Bakst? In 1889 he was invited to participate in a joint exhibition of Russian and Finnish artists. Remembering his failure at the Academy, Leo thought. I wanted to be remembered, but, as shown by his life, it is needless to emphasize the nationality it does not cost… It trims the name of the father and becomes Bakst. Then the artist chose and the middle name more euphonious. And in France later the lion was replaced by Leon.

First overseas tour Bakst was held in 1891. The money brought order to the Royal court. And before 1900-ies at the slightest opportunity to live in Paris, he lived in Paris and in St. Petersburg over sometimes. However, during these raids he wrote portraits, gained fame as a talented portrait painter, taught at the art school Zvantseva arts, where his most famous pupil was Marc Chagall. Well, and also became famous to posterity as the man who seems to be actively discouraged from Chagall moved to Paris, saying that there is not anyone you need, hunger will disappear. There are different versions about it (to the extent that Bakst gave him money for a trip to Paris), but you can’t say that appeals Bakst attentive to the lines clearly have not passed by his famous pupil.

Personal life Bakst

Bakst was a man passionate. Without entering into excessive details, let us note that in the Bohemian society (in particular, in the environment of "Russian seasons") in addition to the artistic burning passion, sensitive, including — for those who do not know about the correctness of the current times — not traditional. Bakst anything that has not been noticed, he was interested only in women. In Paris, the young artist, new to love, passionately fond of certain French actress of the troupe of the St. Petersburg Mikhailovsky theatre. Benoit with a laugh, Recalling that she very tried to "enlighten" your inexperienced friend, swiping through "all the circles of hell erotic".

In St. Petersburg, Leon Bakst great love married the daughter of Pavel Tretyakov, Luba. To Bakst she was married to an artist-galeristen, a naval officer Nikolai Gritsenko, gave birth to a daughter Marina. In 1898 her father died, and two years later husband. What Bakst? He was literally obsessed with Love Gritsenko. For the sake of his marriage to her had passed from Judaism to Lutheranism. In 1907 they had a son Andrew. Bakst loved his family. It is impossible to say with certainty what caused the split, but after a few years the relationship went wrong and the marriage broke up. Leon Bakst for life has maintained a warm relationship with his ex-wife and children, supported them financially. By the way, after the divorce he returned to Judaism.

"Paris was drunk Bakst" (Levinson)

1909. The first "Russian seasons" by Sergei Diaghilev in Paris is nearing completion. Give the ballet "Cleopatra" at the théâtre du châtelet. Nothing special this time spoiled the audience is not waiting, even though the high class performance no doubt. Surely, there will be pyramids and the Sphinx, ballet skirts decorated with Lotus, the artists will present a rather banal plot. "But the technique of these Russian great, you agree, Monsieur?" - in the hall quietly discussing "Seasons".

The curtain goes up, and the hall fades. Before the audience scattered water of the Nile, black slaves, burn the scorching sun, carrying the precious palanquin. Is extracted the mummy, slaves unwound bright attires: red fire, emerald wave, the heat of the desert, the dark night, more, more, more. Throw eleventh outfit and… that’s it, Cleopatra! Rather naked than dressed in this transparent blue attire, like a magnet, riveted the eyes of the audience. Think the audience forgot about the fact that people tend to breathe? Sergey Diaghilev on the show said: "Success? Triumph? — these words do not say anything and do not convey the enthusiasm that sacred fire and sacred delirium that swept the entire auditorium".
Theatrical epoch Leon Bakst began. Paris they are intoxicated. Contemporaries said that to be Bakst — this is to be a Parisian. Adore it. A view to which he puts his hand, becomes an event. Marcel Proust writes: "…Tell Baxtu that I have a magical surprise, not knowing anything more beautiful than "Scheherazade"". IDA Rubinstein, rich and madly in love with the theater, wants to see only his decorator (1, 2, 3). However, his wish to all.

In fact, Bakst revolutionized not Russian, and not in a Paris theatre, and in the world theatrical art. The scenery, the costumes, the plot, the movement ceased to be separate parts of a whole, joined together and formed what was never before.

To some extent "Russian seasons" made Bakst. Them with Diaghilev’s relationship was not straightforward, but they gave each other as professionals. In 1910 Bakst settled in Paris. Known as the author of the most magnificent scenery in the world capital of fashion he has become besides a welcome and very popular maker of ornaments for fabrics. Kings of fashion collaborated with him, his name did not descend from the covers of magazines. America, the ocean was going crazy, wanting to get Bakst, Paris was drunk. What Bakst? Worked without prodyhu. He helped the brothers-sisters, ex-wife with two children. Despite the recognition and well-being, to exhale and to stay.

Something about pale

A Homeland? When already widely known in Europe, Leon Bakst, whose name resounded who wanted to see who was willing to work, so when Leon Bakst arrived in 1912 in Petersburg on business with which he is faced? Or rather, who: okolatem warden prescribing favored by the West genius to leave the Russian capital. "Why?" - I’m surprised the artist. And because Petersburg under the new law is not included in the pale, so that’s something. The story has stirred up a society. In his defense stood world famous in the art world, but it changed nothing. "… It was a shame for the country, which I have tried with all my strength to praise in the whole world"— bitterly said the artist. Submitting a petition to the Emperor on the right to residence in the Northern capital, he again went to Paris. In France he was appreciated more. The person was not allowed to "spoil" the presence of the Petersburg earth in 1914 awarded the highest French distinction, the Legion of honor. Inspired, he again arrives in St. Petersburg… and denied the petition. In the same year the Academy elected him as its full member, Bakst this saves you from having to put up with the shameful act, he has the right to live in St. Petersburg. But it’s too late. The artist was worn out, tired, too much work, too much anxiety, his nervous breakdown, depression and in addition hypertension. Divorce from his wife, as well as global disasters, in particular, the First world war, is also optimistic not added. After the revolution broke out, and in revolutionary and Soviet Russia Baxtu especially was nothing to do. However, after the revolution, using the patronage Grabarand Lunacharsky, he was able to take ex-wife and children from Russia.

Success, success, nerves, nerves again. And a lot of work

Followed by long-term treatment in Switzerland. The life of Bakst went on this track: success, nervous breakdown, again success, again, exhaustion. Thanks to John and Alice Garrett in his life has firmly entered the New world. He is a diplomat and banker, she’s a gifted genius, philanthropist. For many years they became fast friends Leon Bakst. Thanks to them, he repeatedly came to America (for the first time — at the end of 1922), they found he was not available so it is usually quiet and repose, they helped to carried out his ideas, and their country to learn by Leon Bakst. He painted their mansion, designed home theater, thanks to the active assistance Garrett played at American universities with lectures in America is constantly held his exhibitions.

In 1924 he went filled with new ideas. He wanted to open a fashion House and universal design. Bakst has long created a theatrical clothes, he had contracts with fashion houses. But in this project he wanted to put all that know how, and even what have not done before: to develop for customers in a single concept the architecture of the building, interior, furniture, dishes, clothing, jewelry, cars. Surely, it would have been equally brilliant, like everything he undertook Leon Bakst. He never had a chance.

Author: Alain Esaulova

See also: Touches to the portrait: 8 stories from the turbulent life of Leon Bakst
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Artworks liked by

Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Sketch of the costume of the Queen to the ballet "Sleeping Beauty"
Sketch of the costume of the Queen to the ballet "Sleeping Beauty"
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst)
1921, 32×24 cm
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Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Nude
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Fantasy on the theme of costume modern
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Artworks by the artist
total 248 artworks
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Portrait of the writer Zinaida Nikolaevna Gippius
Portrait of the writer Zinaida Nikolaevna Gippius
1906, 54×44 cm
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Dinner
1902, 150×100 cm
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Portrait of Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev with his nanny
Portrait of Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev with his nanny
1906, 161×116 cm
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Dancer from the ballet "The Firebird"
Dancer from the ballet "The Firebird"
1913, 67×48 cm
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Young dahomean
Young dahomean
1895, 20×30 cm
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Vaslav Nijinsky
Vaslav Nijinsky
1903, 203×116 cm
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Self-portrait
1906, 51×75 cm
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). The dance of the seven veils. Costume design of salomé to the drama of Oscar Wilde's "Salome"
The dance of the seven veils. Costume design of salomé to the drama of Oscar Wilde's "Salome"
1908, 46×29 cm
Lev Samoilovich Bakst (Leon Bakst). Portrait of Maria Markovna Klyachko, niece of the artist
Portrait of Maria Markovna Klyachko, niece of the artist
1890, 23×16 cm
View 249 artworks by the artist