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Print - Saut à la barre
  • Saut à la barre
    Renouard, Charles Paul, born 1845 - died 1924
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Saut à la barre

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (printed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1890 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Renouard, Charles Paul, born 1845 - died 1924 (etcher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Etching and aquatint

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Marie Rambert

  • Museum number:

    E.5083-1968

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The print shows a ballet class, probably at the Paris Opera, in the late 19th century. As the dancers seem quite young and some have their hair loose, they may be students rather than professional dancers. The dancers are wearing practice costume of the period, including the modesty bloomers that they wore for both class and rehearsal in the late 19th century, which are familiar from Degas's paintings.
The figure on the right is probably that most formidable of beings, a ballet mother; they often haunted ballet classes and the theatres, jealously guarding their daughters, promoting their interests, and even nobbling their rivals.

Physical description

In a room with sloping roof a line of girls stand with their backs to the viewer, holding onto a ballet barre fixed to the wall in a wide alcove; some are standing on pointe, others are using the barre to support them as they jump, another bends in a plié. They are wearing white sleeveless ballet dresses, the jumping figures revealing knee-length bloomers beneath. To the left stands their teacher, wearing a fitted long-sleeved bodice and a bustle skirt; to the right, against the wall from the alcove, a female figure wearing black skirt and cape.

Place of Origin

Paris (printed)

Date

ca. 1890 (made)

Artist/maker

Renouard, Charles Paul, born 1845 - died 1924 (etcher)

Materials and Techniques

Etching and aquatint

Dimensions

Height: 297 mm, Width: 423 mm

Object history note

The print shows a ballet class, probably at the Paris Opera, in the late 19th century. As the dancers seem quite young and some have their hair loose, they may be students rather than professional dancers. The dancers are wearing practice costume of the period, including the modesty bloomers that they wore for both class and rehearsal in the late 19th century, which are familiar from Degas's paintings.
The print is part of the collection of dance prints amassed by Marie Rambert and her husband, Ashley Dukes in the first half of the 20th century. Eventually numbering 145 items, some of which had belonged to the ballerina Anna Pavlova, it was one of the first and most important specialist collections in private hands.
Rambert bought the first print as a wedding present but could not bear to give it away. As the collection grew, it was displayed in the bar of the Mercury Theatre, the headquarters of Ballet Rambert, but in 1968, Rambert gave the collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum; seven duplicates were returned to Rambert, but these are catalogued in Ivor Guest's A Gallery of Romantic Ballet, which was published before the collection came to the V&A. Although often referred to as a collection of Romantic Ballet prints, there are also important engravings of 17th and 18th century performers, as well as lithographs from the later 19th century, by which time the great days of the ballet in London and Paris were over.

Descriptive line

Saut à la barre. Etching and aquatint by P Renouard, ca. 1890.

Production Note

Etching and aquatint by P Renouard

Materials

Printing ink; Paper

Techniques

Etching (printing process); Aquatint

Categories

Prints

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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