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Konstantin Andreevich Somov (1869-1939)
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Konstantin Andreevich Somov (1869-1939)

A costume design for Tamara Pavlovna Karsavina; Angel

Details
Konstantin Andreevich Somov (1869-1939)
A costume design for Tamara Pavlovna Karsavina; Angel
signed, inscribed and dated 'C. Somoff/Paris 1924' (lower right) and further inscribed in Russian 'One of the studies for 'Angel' for the costume for T. Karsavina'
pencil, coloured pencil and watercolour, on Roma paper
13 1/16 x 10 9/16 in. (33.2 x 24.5 cm.)
Together with three pencil sketches of a guard playing the flute (5)
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Lot Essay

Tamara Karsavina commissioned Somov to design seven different costumes to be used during her tour of the USA in 1924. At that time her partner was Piotr Vladimirov.

This sketch is rare in Somov's oeuvre as, unlike other artists from the 'World of Art' group, Somov never worked on theatrical productions and did not design sets or costumes.
Karsavina, stopping here on her journey, asked me to draw seven costumes for her tour in the United States, and even though this work was new to me I complied with her request.
For her dances to Mozart, I had to do three costumes for women and two costumes for men in the 18th Century style. I also created one grotesque - a puppet - and one costume design for an angel which I advised her to take for Bach's symphony.

Letter dated 12 August 1924, p. 247

I arrived one hour before the start of the show, and in her dressing room she showed me the costumes made in Paris after Const. Somoff designs (as it was written on the posters). She is very happy with them. The best costumes are the one for the soubrette (music by Mozart, Rondo) and the one for the angel, in which she danced to the music of Bach.
Letter dated 29 August 1924, p. 255

Somov not only designed the costumes ordered by Karsavina, but ...travelled through shops, choosing the fabrics, looking at wigs and ladies' boots...
Letter dated 2 November 1924, p. 247

For a sketch of the costume of the 'Marchioness' designed by Somov for Karsavina's 1924 tour, see L. Korotkina's Konstantin Somov, St Petersburg, 2004, p. 101.

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