Not currently on display at the V&A

Parade, Diaghilev Ballets Russes, 1917

Photographic Plate
1917 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This backstage, posed photograph of Maria Chabelska was one of 4 of the Little American Girl in a collection of 27 glass negatives of the ballet Parade, taken by the photographer Harry Lachman. Parade choreogrphed by Leonide Massine was first staged by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, in 1917. It had a libretto by Jean Cocteau, music by Erik Satie, costumes, set and frontcloth designed by Pablo Picasso.

For both Cocteau and Picasso the character of the Little American Girl and therefore the costume, was inspired by early movie stars particularly Mary Pickford and Pearl White. Her costume was bought from William’s Sportswear Shop, Paris, allegedly the day before the premier of Parade. The outfit consisted of a navy-blue sailor jacket with large collar and short (just above the knee in length) white pleated skirt. The jacket appears to be fastened by three brass buttons with further decorative buttons on the flaps of the patch-pockets and cuffs. Beneath the jacket (as can be clearly seen in some photographs of Chabelska and Sokolova, in which the jacket is worn open) is a knitted jumper of ‘matelot’ horizontal stripes. Photographs of Chabelska show her wearing dark (navy?) socks and lace-up character shoes

In Parade the role was performed by three dancers. Chabelska, seen in Lachman’s photographs who in Italy had become a close friend of Jean Cocteau, created the role in Paris and also danced it in Madrid but had left the Ballets Russes before the company’s 1918 return to London. It was subsequently danced by Tamara Karsavina, Lydia Lopokova and Lydia Sokolova who left a vivid description of her part:
'It was lucky that the short, white-pleated skirt and blazer which the American Girl wore were easy to move in, because her entrance and exit were extremely difficult. These consisted of sixteen bars of music, and with each bar she had to jump with both feet straight out together in the front and almost touch her toes with her outstretched arms. This is hard enough to do on the same spot, but when it was a question of moving around a vast stage at full speed it was no mean feat.'


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Glass photographic negative
Brief Description
Glass negative by Harry Lachman showing Maria Chabelska in a plie in her costume as the Little American Girl in Parade designed by Pablo Picasso for Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, 1917.
Physical Description
Glass negative by Lachman showing Maria Chabelska in plie with her thumbs out as the Little American Girl in the ballet Parade. Her costume consists of a navy-blue sailor jacket with large collar and short (just above the knee in length) white pleated skirt. The jacket appears to be fastened by three brass buttons with further decorative buttons on the flaps of the patch-pockets and cuffs. Beneath the jacket is a knitted jumper of ‘matelot’ horizontal stripes. Photographs of Chabelska show her wearing dark (navy?) socks and lace-up character shoes
Dimensions
  • Height: 23.7cm (approximate)
  • Width: 17.8cm (approximate)
Object history
This is one of a collection of 27 glass negatives of the ballet <i>Parade</i>, taken by the photographer Lachmann. <i>Parade</i> was first staged by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, in 1917. The collection of 11 Silver prints and 26 glass plate negatives by Lachmann (then called Lachman) was purchased by the V&A for £5,200 as Lot 233 in the Sotheby action of Photographic Images and Related Material in London 7 May 1993.
Summary
This backstage, posed photograph of Maria Chabelska was one of 4 of the Little American Girl in a collection of 27 glass negatives of the ballet Parade, taken by the photographer Harry Lachman. Parade choreogrphed by Leonide Massine was first staged by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, in 1917. It had a libretto by Jean Cocteau, music by Erik Satie, costumes, set and frontcloth designed by Pablo Picasso.



For both Cocteau and Picasso the character of the Little American Girl and therefore the costume, was inspired by early movie stars particularly Mary Pickford and Pearl White. Her costume was bought from William’s Sportswear Shop, Paris, allegedly the day before the premier of Parade. The outfit consisted of a navy-blue sailor jacket with large collar and short (just above the knee in length) white pleated skirt. The jacket appears to be fastened by three brass buttons with further decorative buttons on the flaps of the patch-pockets and cuffs. Beneath the jacket (as can be clearly seen in some photographs of Chabelska and Sokolova, in which the jacket is worn open) is a knitted jumper of ‘matelot’ horizontal stripes. Photographs of Chabelska show her wearing dark (navy?) socks and lace-up character shoes



In Parade the role was performed by three dancers. Chabelska, seen in Lachman’s photographs who in Italy had become a close friend of Jean Cocteau, created the role in Paris and also danced it in Madrid but had left the Ballets Russes before the company’s 1918 return to London. It was subsequently danced by Tamara Karsavina, Lydia Lopokova and Lydia Sokolova who left a vivid description of her part:

'It was lucky that the short, white-pleated skirt and blazer which the American Girl wore were easy to move in, because her entrance and exit were extremely difficult. These consisted of sixteen bars of music, and with each bar she had to jump with both feet straight out together in the front and almost touch her toes with her outstretched arms. This is hard enough to do on the same spot, but when it was a question of moving around a vast stage at full speed it was no mean feat.'
Collection
Accession Number
S.5413-2009

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record createdFebruary 3, 2010
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