Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Nikitina, Picasso, Schollar, Lifar, Grigorief, Khoklova

Recommended Posts

i can't seem to find the thread on the newest installment of richardson's PICASSO biog - did i hallucinate there was one?

in any case i just remembered i had the snapshot signed by Alice Nikitina (balanchine's first terpsichore whom he called: AWWWfull dancer!) noting the names of a diaghilev group at an airport, as best she can recall, when signing this card in '69 for one 'mary allen' - about whom i know nothing but some of whose photo collection i managed to acquire, piecemeal.


right] scan of autographed front

left] scan of annotated and inscribed back



Link to comment

A fascinating photo, rg. With an interesting history. It's always odd to see Picasso in his haut-bourgeois period, when he was dressing under the stylistic influence of his Russian (dancer) wife Olga Kokhlova. This morning, I just hapened to come across a similar travelling photo in Buckle's In Search of Diaghilev. It's from 1928. No Picasso, but with the addition of Diaghilev himself and Danilova. The ladies have similar hats and shoes. Based on the age of Picasso's son (b. 1921), it seems to be from a bit later.

I don't think the Richardson volume -- A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 --has been published in the US yet. At least I couldn't find it on Amazon. The posts you are referring to were Links to reviews in the British press:

From dirac, a review in The Economist (Nov. 17 issue)


This has the best Picasso-as-banker photo ever!

From Helene, a review in The Scotsman:


Link to comment

And the airplane helps to date it. It's a Handley-Page W.8e trimotor biplane airliner, which was in service with (British) Imperial Airways and Sabena until 1931. This must have been the total passenger contingent. The W.8e was noisy, but reliable. Looking at the extreme left of the frame, it shows the front engine cowling removed, so the engine could be hand-crank started. It could carry 8 passengers and 4 crew. Because of all the women and the child, they were probably "loading heavy", and seated the extra passengers in jump seats. You were limited to 1 15 kilo suitcase onboard. If you had more baggage, it flew in a different cargo-only airplane!

Link to comment
[ ... ] when signing this card in '69 for one 'mary allen' - about whom i know nothing but some of whose photo collection i managed to acquire, piecemeal.
Could this be the same Mary Allen who was briefly -- and controversially -- head of the Royal Opera House in the late 90s?
Link to comment

re: mary allen, my sense is that her era was much earlier than the '90s. her collecting would seem to have been well underway by '69 when nikitina signed this foto for her. my guess is that she was already collecting and making contact with dancers throughout the 1950s, if not earlier. she had any number of items from leclercq while she was still dancing.

i think this mary allen was american.

should i assume 'mary allen' suggested above was english?

Link to comment

John Richardson's A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932, referred to above, is now available on Amazon.


A review by Andrew Butterfield -- New York Review of Books, Dec. 20, 2007 -- is available on-line.


Over the next seven years, Picasso created the costumes and settings for several major ballets, not only Parade and Pulcinella, but Tricorne and Cuadro Flamenco, all for Diaghilev's company, the Ballets Russes. In addition, he designed Satie's ballet Mercure, made the drop curtain for another Diaghilev ballet, Le Train bleu, and conceived the sets for Cocteau's adaptation of Sophocles' Antigone. Work for the theater enabled him to design on a larger scale than he ever had before, and, more importantly, to collaborate with three of the greatest modern composers, de Falla, Satie, and Stravinsky. The hours he spent watching dancers also profoundly affected his art: during the 1920s for the first time figures in motion became an important part of his imagery. According to Richardson, Picasso's 1925 masterpiece, The Dance, owes some of its demonic energy to memories of women shimmying to ragtime in Massine and Vladimir Dukelsky's ballet Zéphire et Flore.

It was on his trip to Italy, too, that Picasso first met Olga Khokhlova, a dancer with the Ballets Russes. At the outset of 1917 Picasso was determined to get married; he had recently proposed to and been rejected by two women in quick succession. He now set his sights on Olga. Her appeal for Picasso mystified his friends and continues to puzzle historians. More than one contemporary described her as a "nothing," and about the best anyone could think to say of her was that she had good taste in clothing. Picasso's earlier girlfriends had all been bohemians; the woman he had proposed to just a few months before was a high-spirited, bisexual nymphomaniac. By contrast Olga was the proper and snobbish daughter of a Russian colonel and still a virgin. Picasso's early portraits of her have a tender and melancholy air and Richardson plausibly suggests that it was Olga's vulnerability that attracted the painter to her. He argues, too, that her social ambition appealed to Picasso's secret bourgeois streak.

With his marriage to Olga in 1918 Picasso entered into what his friend Max Jacob called his "époque des duchesses." Picasso shed his espadrilles and overalls and starting wearing bespoke suits instead. He moved to Paris's fashionable eighth arrondissement, taking an apartment next door to the gallery of his principal dealer, Paul Rosenberg. He discarded and estranged old companions from his early days in Paris, and lost his closest friend, Guillaume Apollinaire, who died in the influenza epidemic. That Picasso told Gertrude Stein in the same letter of his move and of Apollinaire's death shows how quick was the break from his former way of life.

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...