This colourful and vibrant watercolour is part of a series of stage and costume designs which were commissioned by Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929) around 1916. These lively drawings were intended for the ballet based on Maurice Ravel's Rhapsodie Espagnole, of which the choreography was directed by Léonide Massine. Although the performance was rehearsed by the Ballets Russes in Rome during the autumn of 1916, the ballet was never produced.
A larger drawing (65.4 x 43.8 cm.) of the same subject and with the same colours, entitled Rhapsodie Espagnole, Costume de Femme, was exhibited at the Leonard Hutton Galleries, London (published in M. Chamot, Goncharova - Stage Designs and Paintings, London, 1979, p. 74, illustrated pl. 61).
(fig. 1) Photograph of a dancer wearing one of Gontcharova's costumes.