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This is one of three known studies that Nicholson made as designs for a ballet to be produced by Leonide Massine, the Russian choreographer. Nicholson first met Massine in London in 1927 and had attended the productions of the Russian Ballet. Massine asked Nicholson to design a ballet for him in the summer of 1934, and Nicholson produced four small white reliefs as designs for backdrops and an abstract drop curtain. This is one of those reliefs. He made them on a small scale so that he could send them to Massine in Paris by post. Massine ultimately rejected the designs and used the French artist Christian Bérard instead.

August 2004