N03000 LE MORT DU CYGNE: ANNA PAVLOVA 1911
Inscr. ‘J. Lavery’ b.l. and on the back ‘J. Lavery Anna Pavlova Le Mort du Cygne.
By John Lavery 5 Cromwell Place London 1911.’
Canvas, 78×57 3/4 (198×146·5).
Presented by Francis Howard through the National Loan Exhibitions Committee 1914.
Exh: R.A., 1912 (415); Liverpool, autumn 1913 (78); (?) Grosvenor Galleries, June–July 1914 (19, as painted 1912, 72×48 in.); International Society, autumn 1914 (among works purchased for presentation to the Tate Gallery, p.56).
Repr: Royal Academy Pictures, 1912, p.4; Hesketh Hubbard, A Hundred Years of British Painting 1851–1951, 1951, pl.60.
Anna Pavlova (1882–1931), the famous ballerina, danced with the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Diaghilev Ballet, but her greatest fame was achieved with her own company, founded, after a number of temporary groups, in 1913. Lavery had already exhibited at the Society of Portrait Painters, 1910, another picture of Pavlova in a different ‘Dying Swan’ costume (Mr and Mrs Kenneth Graham; repr. Lavery, 1940, after p.267). Neither the pose nor the setting of N03000 are in fact taken from ‘The Dying Swan’, which, arranged by Fokine in 1905, was the most famous work in Pavlova's repertoire. Lavery also exhibited ‘Pavlova as a Bacchante’ at the Paris Salon, 1910 (now at Glasgow; repr. in colour, Shaw-Sparrow, n.d., facing p.108).
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I