George Barbier’s Falbalas et Fanfreluches

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George Barbier’s work has been a regular visitor to these pages. Falbalas et Fanfreluches was a series of pochoir print portfolios published from 1922–1926, a catalogue of various liaisons and amours with a mildly erotic tone. There’s also some sly humour in the examples below, such as the tiny dogs menacing a dandy in L’Agression, and the eyes of the woman in Romance sans paroles wandering to the trim backside of the posing sailor (who doesn’t seem so interested in her).

In addition to being beautiful drawings, Barbier’s title has solved for me a minor conundrum: Falbalas et Fanfreluches means “Ruffles and Frills”, and the Abbé Fanfreluche is a suitably ruffled and frilled character in Aubrey Beardsley’s unfinished erotic novel Under the Hill.

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Vaslav Nijinsky by Paul Iribe

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Another small and obscure volume hiding in the Internet Archive, Vaslav Nijinsky is a portfolio of six ink drawings by Paul Iribe (1883–1935) with a few lines of appended verse by Jean Cocteau. Iribe was a French designer and fashion illustrator who for a while was a member of the Ballets Russes circle, hence these depictions of the troupe’s most celebrated dancer. As post-Beardsley black-and-whites go these are pretty good although Iribe’s figures lack the requisite grace for their subject. If they were the only drawings of their kind that wouldn’t be so bad but one of Iribe’s contemporaries, George Barbier, produced his own superb series of Nijinsky drawings most of which can be seen here.

Note: the date given for this book at the Internet Archive is 1900 which seems quite wrong given that Nijinsky was still a young dancer in Russia at that time. Iribe’s drawings must date at least from 1910, maybe later.

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Jean-Philippe Guillemain’s dancers

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Mathieu by Jean-Philippe Guillemain.

A collection of male dancers pose beside the usual complement of agency models in the portfolio of French photographer Jean-Philippe Guillemain. Are all European dancers this attractive or does he just have a good eye? See the others on his site.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Danseur Noble
The tights have it
Torero
Eonism and Eonnagata
Tiger Lily
Chris Nash
Peter Reed and Salomé After Dark
Felix D’Eon
Dancers by John Andresen
Youssef Nabil
Images of Nijinsky

Diaghilev’s World of Art

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Cover by Evgeny Lanceray for Prospectus of the Magazine, 1901.

Previous posts here have concerned fin de siècle art magazines like The Savoy, Pan and Jugend; yesterday we had Sergei Diaghilev so it seems fitting to mention Diaghilev’s own magazine, Mir Iskusstva (World of Art), founded in 1899 with similar intentions to the European magazines which were highlighting developments in art beyond the academic sphere. Mir Iskusstva was also the name of the Russian art group who used the magazine as their forum, and a number of the artists involved in the movement, notably Léon Bakst, Ivan Bilibin and Nicholas Roerich, went on to work for Diaghilev at the Ballets Russes.

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Cover by Léon Bakst for Mir iskusstva #8 (1902).

I find this later development especially fascinating since it positions the magazine as a precursor to the groundbreaking works which followed rather than being—as so many periodicals were and still are—a publication which had its moment of glory then faded from view. Of the works shown here, Vrubel’s Symbolist Demon, one of several painted by the artist, was featured in a 1903 edition of the magazine, whilst the Bakst painting, depicting the destruction of Atlantis, shows a Symbolist side to an artist who later became far better known for his Ballets Russes costume designs.

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Demon (1902) by Mikhail Vrubel.

Unlike the other magazines mentioned above, I’ve yet to come across a cache of whole editions of Mir Iskusstva (and I’m still waiting for Ver Sacrum to turn up somewhere). This page has an overview of the Russian art movement and its journal, while this page has a selection of works by the artists involved. For more of Vrubel’s work, Wikimedia Commons has the best collection of the artist’s paintings and sculpture.

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Terror Antiquus (1908) by Léon Bakst.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes
Pamela Colman Smith’s Russian Ballet
The art of Ivan Bilibin, 1876–1942
Magic carpet ride
Le Sacre du Printemps
Images of Nijinsky