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Watercolour
  • Watercolour
    Edward Gordon Craig, born 1872 - died 1966
  • Enlarge image

Watercolour

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (painted)

  • Date:

    1905 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Edward Gordon Craig, born 1872 - died 1966 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour and pencil on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Arnold Rood Collection of Edward Gordon Craig, given by Professor Arnold Rood

  • Museum number:

    S.196-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) began her affair with Edward Gordon Craig in 1904. He was her first long-term lover and their daughter, Deirdre, was born in September 1906. Craig was Duncan's partner who best understood her art and his portfolio of six drawings are significant documentation of her dances, performed as interpretations of and in response to music more usually performed in the concert hall than as accompaniment to dance. Duncan who performed in a free style, bare-foot and in a Greek-style tunic is often described as the founder of modern dance.

Physical description

Watercolour in shades of grey on white paper showing a female dancer (Isadora Duncan) performing a skipping step in a shaft of light. She is bare foot, with flowing hair and wearing a tunic. The scene is painted from the wings looking across to the opposite side of the stage. Stage curtains hang in the background and in the further wing is a circular stage light and a chair.

Place of Origin

Germany (painted)

Date

1905 (painted)

Artist/maker

Edward Gordon Craig, born 1872 - died 1966 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour and pencil on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'EGC'
Signed with monogram

'EGC's favourite drawing of I[sadora]. D[uncan]. Original sketch made in Breslau 1905'
Note in Arnold Rood's hand hidden in mount

Dimensions

Height: 31 cm image, Width: 21 cm image

Object history note

The watercolour was made at the height of the affair between Isadora Duncan and Edward Gordon Craig. Francis Steegmuller in "Your Isadora" 1974 p.78. reports that Craig noted that he went to Breslau on 1 and 2 March 1905 where 'I drew Topsy [Isadora's nickname] dancing, seen from the side wings of the stage'; the drawing is one of those reproduced in the Insel-Verlag portfolio. He described Duncan at the Thalia Theatre. 'At Breslau where she danced more perfectly than ever with more care more freedom more love there they [the audience] sat still & stupid....An ugly little theatre full of ugly & foolish people & on the darkened stage a figure growing at each movement more perfect - lavishing beauty on each side of her as a sower sows rich corn in a brown & ugly field - poems glitter and shimmer all round her, floating in the air with her waiting to be flung out into the air never to return - all there waiting.'
The German listing of the prints in the Insel-Verlag portfolio in which this image is reproduced as No.5 indicates Isadora was performing a dance to music by Strauss but in the English version listing (which probably corrects the German) indicates this was a dance to music by Beethoven.

Descriptive line

Isadora Duncan dancing in Breslau, 1905, by Edward Gordon Craig

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Edward Gordon Craig. Isadora Duncan Sechs Bewegungs Studien/Isadora Duncan Six Movement Studies. Leipzig: Erschienen In Insel Rood Collection Box 11 'Isadora Prints'
Francis Steegmuller. "Your Isadora" The love story of Isadora Duncan & Gordon Craig New York: MacMillan, 1974.

Materials

Mounting board; Printing paper; Lithographic ink

Techniques

Painting (image-making)

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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