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Dorothea Tanning Early Designs for the Stage

THE D R AWI N G CENTER


Dorothea Tanning Early Designs for the Stage

April 23 – July 23, 2010

DR AWING ROOM

Curated by Joanna Kleinberg and Rachel Liebowitz


D R AW I N G PA P E R S 91

Introduction by Joanna Kleinberg and Rachel Liebowitz Essay by Robert Greskovic


PL . 1

Costume design for Night Shadow and verso, 1945


PL . 2

Costume design for Night Shadow (Adagio) and verso, 1945


PL . 3

Set design for Night Shadow from Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo souvenir program for the 1945–46 season


Introduction Joanna Kleinberg and Rachel Liebowitz

Vittorio Rietti’s Night Shadow tells the story of a nineteenth-century Gothic romance at a masquerade ball between a Poet and a dazzling Coquette. Not before long the Poet becomes mesmerized by a beautiful and mysterious Somnambulist, which leads to the Coquette’s jealous intrigue, and to the subsequent murder of the Poet… Inspired by the narrative, and George Balanchine’s dramatic choreography, Dorothea Tanning brought what can only be called her ‘quirky’ sensibility to the costuming of the performance. The whimsical costumes themselves embody a sense of movement, not only through the fabrics, gauzes, and veils employed, but in their fitting—itself contorted, bewitched, and ecstatic. Tanning pushed at the limits of masquerade, enrobing dancers in elaborate face masks and headdresses replete with bird feathers and jeweled antlers. So outlandish are the costumes, one wonders how the dancers were able to perform on stage, let alone see. The disjunction between the choreographed gestures—ranging from ghostly, fluttering acrobatics to pronounced, furious steps—and the dramatic costuming, showcases a spontaneous and persuasive means of figuration. In each design, the dancer is depicted en pointe with legs extended and arms gracefully suspended in motion. Faint washes of color provide subtle backdrops with sweeping brushstrokes echoing the billowing fabrics. The drawings Tanning created for her costume designs take the form of traditional fashion plates, and in many instances they include on their reverse side specific measurement instructions for the seamstress. Yet despite such practical intentions, these blithely-rendered drawings suggest bodies in motion and portrayals of fanciful, storybook characters. To wit, Tanning described woven cloth as “supple, sly, always moving.” Rather than integrating alternative materials

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PL . 4

Alexandra Danilova as the Sleepwalker and Frederic Franklin as the Poet, Night Shadow, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, n.d.


PL . 5

Costume design for Night Shadow (The Poet), 1945


PL . 6

Costume design for Night Shadow (The Sleepwalker), 1945


and accoutrements, she exploited the very nature of fabric, using it exclusively to convey her interests in the body and the limitless possibilities of her material’s form. This suite of commissioned drawings bears important parallels to Tanning’s early discoveries in both painting and sculpture. (Tanning’s early commercial work for Macy’s department store and its world of fashion and advertising no doubt put the artist at ease with staging environments and reframing the body in a flamboyant style.) Suggestive of her interest in the supernatural, her early canvases often depict girlish figures struggling with unearthly forces: Children’s Games (1942) reveals young adolescents enrobed in tattered lace dresses who tear away at flaming wallpaper from which feminine bellies burst forth. Birthday (1942), Tanning’s iconic self-portrait, depicts the artist bare-breasted in a ruffled silk brocade jacket atop a skirt of thorny tendrils that assume the form of human bodies. Such interplays between bodies, clothing, and space are on display in many of the paintings, providing images of familiar items, such as ribbons and sheets of cloth, which wrinkle and fold in sexually aggressive forms that echo the distinct language of the body. ••• Dorothea Tanning was raised in the provincial town of Galesburg, Illinois. Her Lutheran upbringing restricted many activities, including dance. Refusing to allow it to limit her curiosity, however, Tanning turned to literature, particularly the Gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe. She briefly attended the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1930s, but, inspired by the arrival of Surrealism in America, most notably Alfred Barr’s 1936 exhibition, Fantastic Art, Dada, and Surrealism, at the Museum of Modern Art, Tanning left to pursue art on her own. Tanning first met Balanchine in 1945, at a party at Julien Levy’s gallery, a frequent gathering place for Surrealists living in New York during the 1930s and ’40s. The two instantly connected and began collaborating with Rietti on Night Shadow, which debuted in 1946, danced by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Tanning and Balanchine went on to produce

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PL . 7

Ruthanna Boris and Frank Hobi in the Blackamoors’ Dance, The Night Shadow, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, n.d.


PL . 8

Costume design for Night Shadow (Adagio), 1945


three other pieces for New York City Ballet, including The Witch, with choreographer John Cranko in 1950; Bayou, choreographed by Balanchine in 1952; and Will o’ the Wisp, with choreographer Ruthana Boris in 1953. Unfortunately for Balanchine, The New York Times considered them all “unqualified flops,” but Tanning’s ideas flourished as a result of the collaboration. For example, The Witch, which tells the story of a young girl who is turned into a witch and forced to kiss her lover to reverse the spell, was derided for its mismatched music and choreography, yet Tanning’s costumes were praised for their exuberance. Her haunting drawings for the characters of the Bat Demon and Monstre show the figures hovering in ominous clouds of gouache on darkly colored paper [PLS. 9, 10]. The Bat Demon, shrouded in tatters, wears a collared and winged poncho that reveals a bare midriff and bright red claw-like nails; the Monstre’s visage is concealed by a chartreuse headdress adorned with elongated, slithering octopus tentacles and protruding, wide eyes. Bayou’s debut was similarly ridiculed, this time as maudlin and clichéd, but Tanning’s costume and set designs were considered worthy enough to be salvaged and revived the following year for Will o’ the Wisp, which still received only tepid reviews; the public, it seems, was not exceedingly positive about Balanchine’s productions. Bayou’s ethereal costuming and tropical setting dramatizes the folkish tale of a bride and groom who depart from their wedding party to join a handsome couple enrobed in leaves and flowers—symbols of the fertile vegetation of the region and the connection of the people to the land. Arguably the most whimsical designs in the suite are Tanning’s creatures of the bayou, including one clad head-to-toe in white swan feathers, the bird’s distinctive orange beak protruding from the headdress [PL. 21]. The drawings, original photographs, and related ephemera show Tanning at play with fantasy: combining demure ballgowns with offbeat headdresses, realistically depicting unreal scenes. By the 1960s, Tanning began producing large-scale, soft sculptures, which she constructed out of various kinds of fabric using a sewing machine. The amorphous shapes of these works appear like nothing so much as lithe bodies plucked from a Balanchine ballet. For Tanning, these playful sculptures became three-dimensional manifestations of her

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PL . 9

Costume design for The Witch (Bat Demon), 1950


PL . 10

Costume design for The Witch (Monstre), 1950


painted universe. For example, the curves and orifices (including a domestic plastic funnel) of Pincushion to Serve as a Fetish (1965), and the languidly intertwined limbs and suggestive female form in Nue Couchée (1969–70), combine the familiar with the uncanny. At the age of 99, Dorothea Tanning has dedicated her over seventyyear career as an artist to exploring the bounds of fantasy and embodiment in painting, drawing, and sculpture. Though best known for her paintings and soft sculptures, this series of hand-drawn ballet costume designs executed between 1945–53, on public view for the first time, provide a unique insight into the artist’s creative processes and mark-making impulses. The presentation of Tanning’s watercolor and gouache-on-paper working drawings offers The Drawing Center a rare opportunity to reevaluate the artist’s compelling visual iconography. The untitled plates look to fashion as a point of origin, where textile and design translate ideas concerning bodily experience, identity, and corporeal memory—at once concrete and chimerical.

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PL . 11

Cover design for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo souvenir program for the 1945–46 season, 1945


Night Shadow and Other Shadows Robert Greskovic

Histories concerned with design for ballet are filled with recollections of the sea change affected by the visionary Russian Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929). As the self-confident, self-proclaimed “charlatan” and “patron of the arts” took Russian ballet outside Russia, eventually settling in the West following Russia’s October Revolution, he brought with him his preference for what has since been deemed the participation of “easel painters” in stage decoration. This taste remained a key ingredient—some would say the key—in the productions of Diaghilev’s much heralded Ballets Russes (1909–1929), though the trend began to take shape during Diaghilev’s formative years in St. Petersburg. Similar notions were promoted by the likes of Savva Mamontov (1841–1918), a wealthy merchant-class arts’ patron and cousin to Konstantin Stanislavsky (1865–1938) of Moscow Art Theater fame. The use of individual, fine artists contrasted strikingly to the utilization of artisans affiliated with imperial theater workrooms, who were on hand to supply design elements for the Russian theatrical productions up through the turn of the twentieth century. As Alexander Schouvaloff put it in his essay on “Design for the Theater”: “Although Diaghilev believed that a perfect fusion of all the arts takes place when all the artists (composer, choreographer, dancer, designer) participate equally in its creation, he nevertheless accorded a certain precedence in that equality to the designer.”1 Diaghilev’s most influential protégé, Russian émigré dancer and choreographer, George Balanchine (1904–1983), has reminisced how, when he began to work for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1924, he 1

25

Alexander Schouvaloff, The Art of Ballets Russes (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), 27.


was told that he’d be working with painters. The young Balanchine recalls thinking, with a cavalier, dismissive air: “So, painter! Painter! So what!” To which he then gives his own answer: “And was Matisse! I was stupid! I didn’t know anything!” Balanchine’s Matisse-decorated work, one of his earliest for the Ballets Russes, was a 1924 restaging of a one-act ballet reduction of Igor Stravinsky’s 1913 opera, Le Rossignol, called Le Chant du Rossignol. On its heels Balanchine’s choreography had the artwork of Maurice Utrillo for Barabau (1925, to Vittorio Rieti). In 1926 Balanchine choreographed the entr’acte of Bronislava Nijinska’s Romeo and Juliet (to Constant Lambert), for which Max Ernst provided curtains and Joan Miró other elements. Also in ’26, Pedro Pruna provided designs for La Pastorale (to Georges Auric); André Derain’s designs were used for Jack in the Box (to Erik Satie). In 1927, Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner’s work decorated La Chatte (to Henri Sauget). André Bauchant, with some eventual help from Chanel, gave Balanchine’s now landmark Apollon Musagète (to Igor Stravinsky) its earliest look in 1928. In the same year, Leon Bakst’s work decorated The Gods Go a-Begging (to George Frederick Handel). Balanchine’s final Ballets Russes creations in 1929 were Le Bal (to Rieti) with scenery and costumes by Giorgio de Chirico, and Le Fils Prodigue (to Sergei Prokofiev) with designs by Georges Rouault. Following a few years on his own after Diaghilev’s death, including a spell at the head of a small ballet troupe called Les Ballets 1933, in which his choreography had designs from Derain, Christian Bérard and Pavel Tchelitchev, Balanchine relocated to the U.S. in October of 1933. Ballet theater in the States was a fledgling art to say the most, but design aspects in this area continued, budgets permitting, to follow the Diaghilev-determined way of employing fine artists. Championing this trend to a large extent was Lincoln Kirstein, the American arts’ patron with a Diaghilev-like personality and tastes who was responsible for brining Balanchine to America. Kirstein’s art-world connections included the acquaintance of New Yorker Julien Levy, whose gallery showed two artists in whom Kirstein had an abiding interest: Tchelitchev and Paul Cadmus.

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PL . 12

Costume design for Night Shadow (A Guest), 1945


Thus, Kirstein loomed in the background of Balanchine’s 1945 meeting of Dorothea Tanning at the Julien Levy Gallery. At this time, Balanchine was amid a two-year stint as resident choreographer for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, one of the off-shoots of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. It was for this company on February 27, 1946 that Balanchine created Night Shadow. The one-act ballet contained echoes of nineteenth-century somnambulism and presented what Kirstein has called “a psychological extension of histrionics at once realistic and Romantic.”2 Its eerie effects were created to operatic themes from Bellini, including La Sonnabambula, arranged by Rieti; it marked Balanchine’s his first collaboration with Tanning. The surreal atmosphere, defined by Tanning’s ruined architecture seeming to sprout with limbs of green vegetation, takes shape as a masked ball in a manor house around which metaphysical occurrences take place in the shape of a spectral, sleepwalking, woman in white. The result largely puzzled, to put it mildly, a good many of the cultural reporters who wrote about it, not least of all because of Tanning’s fantastical designs. Chicago critic Claudia Cassidy fixed on the maskers’ headpieces in particular as “all clipper ships and antlered noddings and fish scales and even a beehive housing an alarm clock.” Writing after the premiere, and comparing the unusual-looking world of Night Shadow with that of another 1946 Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo offering, The Bells (music by Milhaud, choreography by Ruth Page, designs by Isamu Noguchi), the legendary poet/critic Edwin Denby found cause to acclaim the former in contrast to the latter. The Bells specifically took inspiration from a poem of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. Denby addressed what he called the “triviality” of Bells, suggesting that “to Poe lovers in the dance public” it was to “the mysteriousness of Balanchine’s Night Shadow,” that these individuals might better look, since it “gives you a sense—as Poe does— of losing your bearings, the feeling of an elastic sort of time and heaving floor.” In November of 1946, in the wake of the surrealist realm presented by Tanning’s Night Shadow, Balanchine and Kirstein’s Ballet 2

28

Lincoln Kirstein, Four Centuries of Ballet (Mineola: Dover Publications, 1984), 138.


PL . 13

The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo’s production of Night Shadow, n.d.


PL . 14

Unidentified dancers as masked ball guests, wearing “fan” and “fish” masks, Night Shadow, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, n.d.


PL . 15

Costume design for Night Shadow (A Guest), 1945


Society, a subscription-driven performing entity, presented The Four Temperaments, a ballet to music commissioned by Balanchine himself from Paul Hindemith. Initially meant to be called The Cave of Sleep, to a score in three themes and four movements, the first designer of choice was Tchelichev, but the project was unrealized when the artist’s designs were deemed overwhelming to the music and the dancing. Tchelichev himself suggested Ballet Society try fellow artist Kurt Seligmann. That result, by an artist whom Nancy Reynolds describes as “a man interested in black magic” yielded eccentrically cut, complex costumes with flaps and hats and other coverings, which, in Reynolds’s further words did “yoeman’s duty in camouflaging dance.”3 From the start Seligmann’s costuming efforts got “altered” impromptu by Balanchine, who, scissors in hand, worked so that he could more readily see his dancers and their dancing without undue distraction. Since 1951, The Four Temperaments, a work that, to this day, remains internationally acclaimed in New York City Ballet’s repertory and others’ around the world, has been presented without Seligmann’s contribution. Instead, what became known as the “practice clothes” or “black-and-white” look for some of Balanchine’s modernist choreography took hold. Noguchi’s presence as designer for the stage began when he collaborated with modern dance’s Martha Graham in 1935; eventually his work found its way to the ballet stage. After his ’46 work on The Bells, while continuing to collaborate with Graham, he also worked in Balanchine’s world. In 1947, when Ballet Society presented The Seasons (to John Cage) by ex-Graham dancer Merce Cunningham, Noguchi designed the costumes and décor. This was followed in 1948, by his designing Balanchine’s Orpheus (to Stravinsky), a Ballet Society work that helped launch New York City Ballet into the world-famous troupe it would became. Once established, New York City Ballet made further use of Tanning’s designs for works by Balanchine and by individual company-commissioned choreographers. The first of these subsequent ventures, three in all, was the most ill-fated. Young British choreographer John Cranko was commissioned by Balanchine and Kirstein to create a ballet that 3

32

Nancy Reynolds, Repertory in Review (New York: The Dial Press, 1977), 72–73.


PL . 16

Costume design for The Witch (Castle Midnight), 1950


PL . 17

John Cranko, Melissa Hayden, Edward Bigelow, and Una Kai in an informal pose after the London Premiere of The Witch, n.d.


PL . 18

Costume design for The Witch (The Girl Before), 1950


PL . 19

Set design for The Witch, 1950


PL . 20

Costume design for The Witch (The Butlers), 1950


PL . 21

Costume design for Bayou, 1951


would be given on New York City Ballet’s tour to London. Balanchine chose the theme (the story of a witch who destroys her lover), the music (initially, an orchestrated version of four-handed Schubert piano pieces that was eventually changed to Ravel’s two-handed piano concerto), and the designer: Tanning. The final result flopped, due in part to Cranko’s lack of comfort with the elements of the commission. Then, the Ravel estate objected to the composer’s concert music being used for a ballet, thus preventing further performances. Cranko was thought to be somewhat relieved. The Witch disappeared in London, never to be seen in New York or anywhere else. Similar summary endings came to Balanchine’s own Bayou (1952, to Virgil Thomson’s “Arcadian Songs and Dances”), and to Ruthanna Boris’s Will o’the Wisp (1953, to further Thomson songs and dances): Tanning’s final works for New York City Ballet. Reynolds connects the two ballets, writing they “suffered the same fate,” that is, “poor reception and a brief life.” The latter seems to have been something of an outgrowth of the former. Kirstein’s program note for Bayou suggests an atmosphere related to that created by Tanning in Night Shadow: “The ballet describes the gentle mysteries and murmurings of a place where life, plants, and waters fulfill unseen destinies and the people living there who play, with poetic awareness, their part in its history. The spirit of the Bayou calls, and from the moss-hung forests come those who hear this call to dance.” Characters such as the “Boy,” “Girl,” “Leaves and Flowers,” for example, suggest innocence and eternal essences. Francisco Moncion, the ballet’s “Boy,” noted, in Reynolds, that his character was something of an Oberon figure in his powers and behavior (p. 137). Will o’the Wisp used music by Thomson related to that of Bayou (both came from the composer’s music for the 1948 movie Louisiana Story) and suggested links to the world-famous 1841 Romantic era ballet, Giselle. Its themes, as Boris herself tells it (in Reynolds) concerned a betrayed young woman, whose Giselle-like suicide led to her being buried on unconsecrated ground “in a swamp.” Boris very likely chose Tanning to design her ballet because of her familiarity with the artist from Night Shadow, in which work she first danced the female half of

39


PL . 22

Costume design for Bayou (Groom), 1951


PL . 23

Costume design for Bayou (Bride), 1951


PL . 24

Costume design for Bayou, 1950


the Blackamoor couple performing as part of the “Entertainers at the Ball.” Reynolds suggests that the reason Will o’the Wisp and the earlier Bayou might have disappeared sooner than later could be due to the fact that the “music, décor, and costumes” essentially “overwhelmed the choreography” (p. 146). Even though, by ’51, we know that Balanchine was looking to simplify the look of his stage and dancers for Four Temperaments by removing all of Seligmann’s designs, the choreographer evidently thought highly enough of Tanning to select her as the designer for Cranko’s 1950 ballet and then to call on her again himself in ’52 for his Bayou. Later in life, in reflecting on Parade, a 1913 Ballets Russes collaboration among Cocteau (libretto), Satie (score), Massine (choreography) and Picasso (designs), Balanchine reportedly remarked about the dangers of an overly strong visual artist’s voice in a work of ballet theater, noting that, in this case, “Picasso took over,” implying the rest of the collaborators ended up taking a back seat. Ironically, nowadays, as far as the ballets on which Tanning originally collaborated, only Night Shadow, called La Sonnambula since New York City Ballet’s 1960 revival of the work, remains on the boards, though with a number of design schemes that supplanted Tanning’s, which were not taken into New York City Ballet’s repertory. Of Tanning’s other ballets, all that remains is her work, now in the form of sketches and publicity photographs. The choreography itself has been gone now for so long that any efforts to put the ballets back on stage today would be much like trying to grasp the elusive sleepwalker who haunts her residence as a night shadow.

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LIST OF WORKS

PL. 5

Costume design for Night Shadow PL. 15

(The Poet), 1945

Costume design for Night Shadow

Watercolor on paper

(A Guest), 1945

14 x 11 1/8 inches

Watercolor and wash on paper

The Young-Mallin Archive, New York

13 7/8 x 9 7/8 inches Collection of the artist

PL. 6

Costume design for Night Shadow PL. 12

(The Sleepwalker), 1945

Costume design for Night Shadow

Watercolor on paper

(A Guest), 1945

13 1/2 x 9 7/8 inches

Watercolor and wash on paper

The Young-Mallin Archive, New York

13 7/8 x 9 7/8 inches Collection of the artist

PL. 11

Cover design for the Ballet Russe PL. 8

de Monte Carlo souvenir program for the

Costume design for Night Shadow

1945–46 season, 1945

(Adagio), 1945

Watercolor on board

Watercolor on paper

20 x 15 1/8 inches

8 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches

Courtesy of Gallery Surrealism, New York

The Young-Mallin Archive, New York PL. 3 PL. 2

Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo souvenir

Costume design for Night Shadow, 1945

program for the 1945–46 season

Watercolor on paper

12 x 9 inches

8 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches

Collection of the artist

The Young-Mallin Archive, New York PL. 7 PL. 1

Ruthanna Boris and Frank Hobi in the

Costume design for Night Shadow, 1945

Blackamoors’ Dance, The Night Shadow,

Watercolor on paper

Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, n.d.

8 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches

Photograph

The Young-Mallin Archive, New York

8 x 10 inches Collection of Robert Greskovic

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PL. 14

PL. 9

Unidentified dancers as masked ball guests,

Costume design for The Witch

wearing “fan” and “fish” masks, Night Shadow,

(Bat Demon), 1950

Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, n.d.

Gouache on dark blue paper

Photograph

16 x 11 1/2 inches

8 x 10 inches

Collection of the artist

Photograph by Irving Haberman Collection of Robert Greskovic

PL. 10

Costume design for The Witch PL. 4

(Monstre), 1950

Alexandra Danilova as the Sleepwalker and

Gouache on dark blue paper

Frederic Franklin as the Poet, Night Shadow,

16 x 11 1/2 inches

Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, n.d.

Private Collection

Photograph 8 x 10 inches

PL. 6

Photograph by Maurice Seymour

Costume design for The Witch

Collection of Robert Greskovic

(Castle Midnight), 1950 Gouache on dark blue paper

PL. 13

15 3/4 x 11 1/2 inches

The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo’s

Collection of the artist

production of Night Shadow, n.d. Photograph

PL. 20

8 x 10 inches

Costume design for The Witch

Courtesy of Jerome Robbins Dance Division,

(The Butlers), 1950

The New York Public Library for the Performing

Gouache on dark blue paper

Arts, Aster, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations

16 x 11 1/4 inches Collection of Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York

Letter dated July 11th from Dorothea Tanning to Jean Rosenthal discussing Balanchine’s Night

PL. 19

Shadow

Set design for The Witch, 1950

Blue ink on paper

Oil on canvas

8 1/8 x 5 1/4 inches

18 x 24 inches

Courtesy of New York City Ballet Archives,

Collection of Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco

Ballet Society Collection

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PL. 18

Letter dated February 1st from Dorothea

Costume design for The Witch

Tanning to Lincoln Kirstein discussing John

(The Girl Before), 1950

Cranko’s The Witch

Gouache on dark blue paper

Blue ink on paper

16 x 11 1/2 inches

8 1/2 x 11 inches

Collection of the artist

Courtesy of New York City Ballet Archives, Ballet Society Collection

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, New York City Ballet program, 1950

PL. 24

7 3/8 x 4 3/4 inches, 8 pages

Costume design for Bayou, 1950

Collection of the artist

Watercolor and gouache on paper 12 1/4 x 9 inches

Robert Barnett costumed as one of the owl

Collection of Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco

heads in The Witch, n.d. Photograph

PL. 21 / COVER

8 x 10 inches

Costume design for Bayou, 1951

Courtesy of Jerome Robbins Dance Division,

Graphite and gouache on green paper

The New York Public Library for the Performing

12 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches

Arts, Aster, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations

Collection of the artist

PL. 17

PL. 22

John Cranko, Melissa Hayden, Edward Bigelow,

Costume design for Bayou (Groom), 1951

and Una Kai in an informal pose after the

Gouache on dark green paper with fabric

London Premiere of The Witch, n.d.

swatches

Photograph

12 3/4 x 10 inches

8 x 10 inches

Collection of the artist

Courtesy of Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing

PL. 23

Arts, Aster, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations

Costume design for Bayou (Bride), 1951 Gouache on dark green paper with fabric

Melissa Hayden as the Fair Girl in The Witch, n.d.

swatches

Photograph

12 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches

8 x 10 inches

Collection of the artist

Courtesy of Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing

New York City Ballet brochure, 1952

Arts, Aster, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations

11 x 8 1/2 inches, 4 pages Collection of the artist

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New York City Center program, 1953 9 x 6 1/2 inches Collection of the artist Melissa Hayden and Hugh Lang as the leaders of the leaves and flowers in Balanchine’s ballet Bayou, n.d. Photograph 8 x 10 inches Courtesy of Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Aster, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations Letter dated February 6, 1960 from Dorothea Tanning to Betty Cage discussing Balanchine’s Bayou and Night Shadow Blue ink on paper 10 5/8 x 8 1/8 inches Courtesy of New York City Ballet Archives, Ballet Society Collection

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C U R AT O R S ’ A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S

We wish to offer our profuse thanks to Dorothea Tanning for her willingness to share this discrete body of work with us in the first exhibition devoted to her design drawings. We are also grateful to Pam Johnson, Senior Archivist at the Dorothea Tanning Archive, for her dedication and expertise in helping to realize this project. Additional thanks to Robert Greskovic for his insightful essay for the catalogue. We would like to acknowledge Doug Walla from the Kent Gallery for bringing this work to our attention and for his steadfast support. This exhibition would not have been possible without the generous support of the following lenders: Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco; Robert Greskovic; Steve Lucas; Judith Mallin; Laura Raucher, Archivist at the New York City Ballet Archive; Jan Schmidt, Curator of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; and Pavel Zoubok. The Drawing Center’s hardworking staff deserves recognition for their enthusiasm and conscientiousness in bringing this exhibition to fruition. Special thanks to Brett Littman, Executive Director, for his encouragement to pursue this project; Emily Gaynor, Public Relations and Marketing Officer; Anna Martin, Registrar; Nicole Goldberg, Director of Development; Jonathan T.D. Neil, Executive Editor; Joanna Ahlberg, Managing Editor; and Peter J. Ahlberg, AHL&CO.


CONTRIBUTOR BIOS

Robert Greskovic covers dance for The Wall Street Journal and is the author of Ballet 101, A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving the Ballet. Joanna Kleinberg is Assistant Curator at The Drawing Center. Rachel Liebowitz is Assistant Curator at The Drawing Center.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Co-Chairman

Dorothea Tanning: Early Designs for the Stage

Frances Beatty Adler

is made possible in part by members of the

Eric Rudin

Drawing Room, a patron circle founded to support innovative exhibitions presented in The Drawing

Dita Amory

Center’s project gallery: Devon Dikeou and

Melva Bucksbaum*

Fernando Troya, Judith Levinson Oppenheimer,

Suzanne Cochran

Elizabeth R. Miller and James G. Dinan,

Anita F. Contini

The Speyer Family Foundation, Inc., Louisa Stude

Frances Dittmer*

Sarofim, Deborah F. Stiles, and Ann Tenenbaum

Bruce W. Ferguson

and Thomas H. Lee.

Stacey Goergen Steven Holl David Lang Michael Lynne* Iris Z. Marden George Negroponte Gabriel PĂŠrez-Barreiro Elizabeth Rohatyn* Jane Dresner Sadaka Allen Lee Sessoms Kenneth E. Silver Pat Steir Jeanne C. Thayer* Barbara Toll Isabel Stainow Wilcox Candace Worth Executive Director Brett Littman *Emeriti


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This is number 91 of the Drawing Papers, a series of publications documenting The Drawing Center’s exhibitions and public programs and providing a forum for the study of drawing. Jonathan T.D. Neil Executive Editor Joanna Ahlberg Managing Editor Designed by Peter J. Ahlberg / AHL&CO This book is set in Adobe Garamond Pro and Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk. It was printed by BookMobile in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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T H E D R AW I N G PA P E R S S E R I E S A L S O I N C L U D E S

Drawing Papers 90 Leon Golub: Live & Die Like a Lion? Drawing Papers 89 Selections Spring 2010: Sea Marks Drawing Papers 88 Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary Drawing Papers 87 Ree Morton: At the Still Point of the Turning World Drawing Papers 86 Unica Zurn: Dark Spring Drawing Papers 85 Sun Xun: Shock of Time Drawing Papers 84 Selections Spring 2009: Apparently Invisible Drawing Papers 83 M/M: Just Like an Ant Walking on the Edge of the Visible Drawing Papers 82 Matt Mullican: A Drawing Translates the Way of Thinking Drawing Papers 81 Greta Magnusson Grossman: Furniture and Lighting Drawing Papers 80 Kathleen Henderson: What if I Could Draw a Bird that Could Change the World? Drawing Papers 79 Rirkrit Tiravanija: Demonstration Drawings

T O O R D E R , A N D F O R A C O M P L E T E C ATA L O G O F PA S T E D I T I O N S , V I S I T D R AW I N G C E N T E R . O R G


THE D R AWI N G CENTER

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Introduction by Joanna Kleinberg and Rachel Liebowitz Essay by Robert Greskovic

D R AW I N G PA P E R S 9 1

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Dorothea Tanning: Early Designs for the Stage  

The Drawing Center's Drawing Papers Volume 91 featuring an introduction by curators Joanna Kleinberg and Rachel Liebowitz and an essay by Ro...

Dorothea Tanning: Early Designs for the Stage  

The Drawing Center's Drawing Papers Volume 91 featuring an introduction by curators Joanna Kleinberg and Rachel Liebowitz and an essay by Ro...

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