Michel Larionov 1881-1964
T00157 Serge Diaghilev
Inscribed 'M.L. | 915' t.r.
Pen and ink on paper, 10 3/4 x 7 7/8 (27.3 x 20)
Presented by the artist 1957
Repr: Bayerischer Rundfunk: Konzerte mit neuer Musik, VIII, October-December 1957, p.34
Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929), the famous Russian impresario. Larionov first met him in the spring of 1903 at an exhibition in Moscow and in 1906 accompanied him to Paris at the time of the exhibition of Russian art at the Salon d'Automne (which Diaghilev had organised). His collaboration with him in the field of the ballet began in 1915, the year of this drawing, when Diaghilev invited Gontcharova and Larionov to join him in Switzerland where he was trying to rebuild his ballet company which had become dispersed at the outbreak of war. Larionov and Gontcharova arrived there in July 1915, and Larionov began work shortly afterwards on the design of sets and costumes for the ballet Soleil de Nuit, which had its first performance in Geneva on 20 December 1915.
This portrait was done at Ouchy (Lausanne), where Diaghilev had rented the villa 'Belle Rive'. A similar but later drawing of Diaghilev is reproduced as frontispiece to Les Ballets Russes: Serge de Diaghilev et la Décoration Théatrale
by Gontcharova, Larionov and Pierre Vorins (Belvès 1955).
(This note is based partly on information supplied by the artist in a letter of 14 August 1958).
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.408-9, reproduced p.408