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Supper. 1902

Bakst Léon,
Oil on сanvas
150 x 100

State Russian Museum


The prototype for the heroine of Supper was Anna Benois, wife of the artist Alexander Benois. Léon Bakst does not, however, aspire towards a direct portrait likeness.
The subject is merely a starting point for a typical Art Nouveau image — the femme fatale, with her enigmatic half-smile, sensual feline grace and shapely figure tightly corseted in black. Supper was a scandalous success at the fifth World of Art exhibition, representing Bakst’s first major triumph as a virtuoso stylist and future legislator of Parisian fashions.

Author's Biography

Bakst Léon

Bakst, Leon (Lev Samoilovich)
1866, Hrodno - 1924, Paris
Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer. Studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1883-87) and the Atelier dc Jean Louis Gerome and Academic de Rodolphe Julian in Paris (1893-96). Taught at the Elizaveta Zwantseva School of Drawing and Painting in St Petersburg (1906-09). Member of the Society of Russian Waterecolourists (1891-1907), World of Art (1899-1903, 1906, 1913) and the Union of Russian Artists (1903-1910). Life member of the Salon d''''Automne (from 1906). Academician (1914). Contributed to many exhibitions of theatrical design and one-man shows. Designed sets and costumes for the Mariinsky Theatre and Alexandrinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Paris Opera and theatres in London and New York. Leading designers of Sergei Diaghilev''''s Ballets Russes (from 1909) and the ballet companies of Anna Pavlova and Ida Rubinstein. Emigrated to Paris (1909).

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