Leon Bakst (1866-1924), Grodno-Petersburg-Paris

Леон Бакст

Leon Bakst- prominent theater artist, brilliant draftsman and great painter, representative and, even more – business card, modern style.

1. Year, Bakst's birthplace. A family
Леон Бакст (1866-1924), Гродно-Петербург-Париж

Bakst's real name – Leib-Haim Rosenberg. He was born 9 may 1866 years in the provincial town of Grodno. His father, Samuel Rosenberg, enjoyed authority among the townspeople, great expert on Talmud, very educated and cultured person, had a great influence on the family. His wife was the daughter of Grodno merchant Baxter, supplier of cloth for the Russian army. Grandfather Baxter decided to move to St. Petersburg and after a while moved his daughter's whole family there.. Surname of the artist Bakst – it is a derived form of the grandfather's surname and, respectively, mothers.

2. Art education

Leon was fond of drawing since childhood. Once the father showed his son's drawings to the sculptor M., and he advised to develop artistic abilities in the child.

Леон Бакст (1866-1924), Гродно-Петербург-Париж

The young man entered the Academy of Arts as a volunteer and studied there for four years.. Threw her, when I felt, that knowledge is enough. During that difficult period, to feed yourself, Bakst began to earn money as a book illustration.

IN 1893 Bakst left for Paris, where he again took up painting at the Julian Academy. And again, paintings saved his precarious financial situation.. “Parisian” the period lasted four years, in 1897 Bakst returned to Petersburg – town, in which he quickly established himself as one of the most demanded illustrators and portrait painters.

3. Leon Bakst and the creative environment

The artist's first exhibition took place in 1889 year, and then he first introduced himself to the public under the pseudonym Leon Bakst. This was followed by participation in the exhibition of the Society of Russian Watercolors.

During his stay in Paris, Bakst periodically came to St. Petersburg. On one of these visits, the artist was invited to a circle Alexandra Benois. Over time, the hobby group will grow into a creative association “World of Art” with the magazine of the same name, in which Bakst was in charge of the art department.

Молодой дагомеец. 1895. Бумага, акварель, 30,2х25
Young Dahomean. 1895. Paper, watercolor, 30,2x25

It's not hard to guess, how popular Bakst was in the Petersburg creative environment, if consider, that the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich invited him to teach his children to draw. And in 1902 year, while in Paris, the artist received an order from Nicholas II to create the painting "Meeting of Russian sailors".

In the 1910s, Bakst created a number of portraits of his famous contemporaries.: F. Malyavina, WITH. Gippius, IN. Розанова, FROM. Дягилева, AND. Duncan et al. The completion of such works also belongs to this period., as “Ancient horror” and “Elysium”, “Dinner”

4. Theatre

IN 1903 year Leon Bakst took part in the design of the ballet “Fairy dolls” brothers Legatov Nikolay and Sergey. He was entrusted with the creation of sets and costumes for artists. The audience appreciated the artist's innovative approach.

Costumes based on Bakst's sketches for ballet “Fairy dolls” can be seen in the video below:

IN 1910 year, left St. Petersburg, Bakst settled in Paris. His theatrical scenery for the performances of Diaghilev's Russian Ballet brought worldwide fame. He worked on “Cleopatra” in 1909 year, “Scheherazade”, “Firebird” and “Carnival” in 1910, in 1911 over “Narcissus” and “A vision of a rose”, completed in 1912 “Faun's Afternoon Rest” and “Daphnis and Chloe”. The last major work of Bakst in the theater was ballet “sleeping Beauty”, prepared in 1921 year.

Separately, it should be noted, that Diaghilev's Russian seasons and Bakst's costumes, in particular, significantly influenced the emergence of new trends in the world of French fashion. All eastern and Russian things suddenly became popular among women.. Shawls were in demand, turban, wigs and dresses, resembling costumes, created by Bakst for actors.

Леон Бакст (1866-1924), Гродно-Петербург-Париж
Lev Bakst's set design for ballet “Sheherazade”.

Costumes for Vaslav Nijinsky were made according to Bakst's sketches, Tamara Karsavina, Vera Fokina, Ida Rubinstein.
Леон Бакст (1866-1924), Гродно-Петербург-Париж

Bakst took up jewelry design, utensils, houses and even cars. He developed the design of fabrics, and did it so successfully, that has become in demand far beyond Europe, in America. One of the artist's last projects was the development of sketches, for mass production of fabrics.

Леон Бакст (1866-1924), Гродно-Петербург-Париж
Here more photos on the topic

The portraits of the most famous artists of the time are by Bakst:

5. Personal life. Death
Портрет Любови Гриценко
Portrait of Lyubov Gritsenko

IN 1903 year Leon Bakst married Pavel Tretyakov's daughter Lyubov Gritsenko (first husband's surname). This event happened not without problems, the main of which was religion. The artist had to accept the Lutheran faith. The son of Andryusha was born in marriage, but having a common child did not save the spouses from divorce in any way. IN 1907 year they divorced, and Bakst converted to Judaism again. But because. not all Jews at that time were allowed to live in the capital, then in 1909 year the artist was forced to leave Petersburg. For the rest of my life, until his death in 1924 year, Leon Bakst lived in Paris.

Леон Бакст (1866-1924), Гродно-Петербург-Париж
Leon Bakst, Shower, 1906 year
Леон Бакст (1866-1924), Гродно-Петербург-Париж