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Léon Bakst (1866-1924)
Bakst was a Russian painter and scene- and costume- designer. Born Lev Rosenberg in St. Petersburg, he studied at Moscow and Paris academies. Bakst designed settings for Greek tragedies, and in 1908 made a name as a scene-painter for Diaghilev with the Ballets Russes. Bakst had a great influence on art and fashion in the early 20th century, especially on scene-designing, of which he was one of the first modern masters.
Costume for a brigand
Ballet Scheherazade


The Butterfly, 1913
Graphite pencil and watercolor on paper
17 3/4 x 11 1/8 in.

Bakst dazzled early-twentieth-century Europe with his opulent designs for the ballet and theater. His feeling for exotic styles, voluptuous color, and sensuous line profoundly influenced contemporary fashion, interior design, and jewelry. Bakst created many costumes for performances by the great Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (1881–1931) at the Imperial Ballet and the Ballets Russes. After she started her own troupe, the dramatic solo The Butterfly was one of Pavlova’s most popular works.
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