[Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo].

[Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo].

11 autograph letters signed and 1 telegram. Paris, Le Mans, Barcelona, Vaison-la-Romaine, Kolbsheim, and no place. In French and Russian. Various formats. Altogether 14 pp. Together with an autograph letter by Jean Françaix's father Alfred, 1 typed draft for a letter to Aleksandr Shervashidze, the carbon copies of 11 typed letters and 1 telegram, and a copy of the fir.
$ 7,339 / 6.500 € (83056/BN54490)

Correspondence of five artists with Wassily de Basil, director of the famous ballet company and his office: André Derain (1 letter), Jean Françaix (2 letters), André Masson (1 letter), Nicolas Nabokoff (2 letters, one of which incomplete), and Pedro Pruna (5 letters). Carbon copies of answers and requests addressed to the artists complete the collection. - André Derain confirms the receipt of a cheque for his stage designs for the ballet "La Concurrence" (Competition) and photographs from the production as announced in an undated letter from the office (Paris, 26 July 1933).

"La Concurrence" had successfully premiered on 12 April 1932. - In January 1933 Jean Françaix sold his ballet "Scuola di Ballo" with music based on themes by Luigi Boccherini to the company and later had a disagreement concerning an outstanding payment. A letter from the office was sent with the contract, asking for the signature of Jean’s father Alfred Françaix, as the young composer was not yet of age, prohibiting ballet productions with other companies until the premiere. Jean Françaix responded within a week: "You will find the contract signed by my father, as you requested, attached to this letter. Concerning the letter that you sent me, my father has reminded me that it is important to set the latest possible date for the premiere of our ballet in Paris. This date should be 1 July 1933. Before that date I naturally commit not to have another ballet performed. I would be willing to give you an option for the commission of a new ballet under the condition that I receive the binding commission no later than 1 January 1934 and that the terms of the new contract are established by mutual agreement [...]“ (Le Mans, 17 January 1933). Apparently, Françaix's offer led to the commission of the musical "Beach" mentioned in the telegram from 16 June 1933: "Urgent tell me date first performance Beach". The more successful premiere of "Scuola di Ballo" was on 9 June 1933 at the Théâtre du Châtelet. - In February 1933, André Masson received two letters from the office ahead of the premiere of "Les Présages" on 13 April 1933 at the Théâtre de Monte Carlo, concerning a meeting with Wassily de Basil and a stay in Monte Carlo for the execution of stage designs. "Les Présages" was a plotless ballet choreographed by Léonide Massine based on symphonic music from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 with costumes and stage designs by Masson. On 10 June 1933 Masson sent a pneumatic post to de Basil, underlining the absolute necessity to repair a damaged frieze: "It is necessary to repair the second frieze that was damaged. I absolutely want to. Please give me notice so that I can go where it needs to be done. Yesterday’s soiree was completely to the honour of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo. Decidedly, it is what is really good that ultimately triumphs over snobism and free advertisement". This intervention probably occurred during the production of "Les Présages" in Paris. - Both letters from Nicolas Nabokov are in Russian. The complete letter from 20 March 1934 concerns his ballet "Union Pacific, composed for the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo that premiered in Philadelphia and New York with resounding success. - The correspondence with the Spanish painter and Picasso student Pedro Pruna concerns stage and costume designs for the revival of "Les Matelots" (The Seamen) in Monte Carlo, which had originally premiered in Paris on 17 June 1925. In a letter to de Basil from 15 February 1933, Pruna accepts the commission: "I agree to redo the sets for the Ballet 'the Matelots' under the conditions indicated in your kind letter from the 12th February inst. In three days I will have the documents that will serve me for this reconstruction, and I will start immediately. Please be so kind and tell me until when you will be in Paris, as well as the dimensions in which I need to do the designs. Is it 12 by 18 meters? I forget [...]". Pruna's set designs were to be complemented by decorations by the scenographer and painter Prince Aleksandr Shervashidze. In a letter from 27 March 1933 an impatient Wassily de Basil asked Pruna for two additional costume designs for the premiere on 11 April. In later letters Pruna asks for the final payment and confirms sending his sets to Shervashdize after the production, as the company needed them for an exhibition in New York: "I have asked you several times please to return to us Pruna's designs in your possession. Mr Pruna himself confirmed to us by letter and verbally that these designs will be sent us by you. As we cannot wait any longer, being obliged to send them to New York for the exhibition, I ask you to have them sent to me as soon as you receive this letter [...]. Do you have the model for your design for Swan Lake? If you want it to be shown in New York, please provide us also with the same [...]" (draft for a letter to Shervashdize). - All but one of the letters and all carbon copies with filing holes occasionally touching the text. Some rust stains and small holes from paper-clips and staples. Minor browning and tears to some of the letters; carbon copies with creases, tears and brownstains but no loss to text..

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