BAKST, Léon (?1866-1924, artist), Arsène ALEXANDRE (1859-1937), and Jean COCTEAU (1889-1963). L'Art decoratif de Bakst. Paris: De La More Press for Maurice de Brunhoff, 1913.
2° (400 x 267mm). Title and text printed in red and black. Original pencil and bodycolour costume design by Bakst, heightened with gold and signed 'BAKST , 1912', laid down and window-mounted, and framed and glazed. Mounted photographic portrait frontispiece, 77 mounted plates, all but one after Bakst, 50 printed in colour and 4 folding, head- and tailpieces after Bakst. (Lacking limitation leaf.) Original vellum gilt, the covers with central designs after Bakst in gilt, gilt borders, the spine lettered and decorated in gilt, top edge gilt, others uncut (vellum very lightly marked, endpapers replaced), original cloth box with gilt cloth lettering-piece on upper panel (extremities rubbed, splits on spine and corners). Provenance: The Fine Art Society, London (loosely-inserted receipt recording sale of 'Edition de luxe Bakst Book' for £20 on 3 March 1924 to:) -- Sir Harry Baldwin, CVO, MRCS (1862-1931, Honorary Surgeon-Dentist to King George V from 1926), and by descent.
FIRST EDITION. ONE OF 80 DE LUXE COPIES WITH AN ORIGINAL COSTUME DESIGN BY BAKST. L'Art decoratif de Léon Bakst was issued in standard and de luxe editions; this copy is from the de luxe edition, each copy of which was accompanied by an original design (although in many copies, for example the Victoria and Albert Museum's, it is missing). The design with this copy is probably for Gabriele d'Annunzio's La Pisanelle où la Mort parfumée, a piece set in the East during the middle ages. La Pisanelle was first performed on 11 June 1913 at the Théâtre de Châtelet, Paris by Ida Rubinstein's Company, and was directed by Vsevolod Meyerhold, choreographed by Mikhail Fokin and accompanied by Ildebrando da Parma's score. The scenography and costumes were by Bakst, and the cast of 212 demanded an unusually large number of costume designs. Although the production was generally deemed a 'ludicrous extravaganza' (A. Schouvaloff Léon Bakst (London: 1991), p.166), the costumes (made by Worth) and decor were applauded by the audience when the curtain rose. This copy was purchased from The Fine Art Society (who published the English de luxe and trade editions of the work under the title The Decorative Art of Léon Bakst and held an exhibition of Bakst's work in 1913), and is accompanied by a copy of Comoedia Illustré, vol. V, no. 18 (20 June 1913), which contains an article on La Pisanelle on pp.861-872. Niles and Leslie I, p.6.