Vaslav Nijinsky by Paul Iribe


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.






Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

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

2 thoughts on “Vaslav Nijinsky by Paul Iribe”

  1. Hadn’t heard of this guy before. As you say, not as good as Barbier, but still really nice. BTW, I finally got my copy of Somnium yesterday – your cover looks even better in real life!

  2. Nice, thanks. Yes, the silver ink is the plus when you see an actual copy of the book. So too is the textured paper that SA used. I’ve been using metallic inks with greater frequency recently, not least for the extra quality they give to physical productions.

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