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Poster - Anna Pavlova The Immortal Swan

Anna Pavlova The Immortal Swan

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    France (printed)

  • Date:

    1936 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (printers)
    Hugo, Valentine, born 1887 - died 1968 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Jean Hugo

  • Museum number:

    S.1317-2012

  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, Room 106, case WW, shelf EXP

This poster advertises a film on the life and art of the dancer Anna Pavlova (1881-1931). Released in 1936, Anna Palova The Immortal Swan is a compendium of film material put together after Pavlova’s death in 1931. It was directed and edited by Edward Nachimoff under the supervision of Pavlova's husband Victor Dandré, with a French commentary by Albert Grehan. Dandré had the film edited in English, French and German for world-wide distribution.

The image on the poster is based on a painting by Valentine J. Hugo (Valentine Gross), showing Anna Pavlova in Mikhail Fokine’s ballet Les Sylphides, in which she danced in 1909. She is depicted in a white romantic tutu in an arabesque on pointe. In the background is the Benois-designed set with the ruined abbey, created for Diaghilev’s Saison Russe in 1909. For the poster Pavlova’s hairstyle is changed from being drawn back with a chaplet of pink roses to a headband and ringlets, evoking Pavlova's ballets Christmas, Invitation to the Waltz or Dragonfly. The poster design appears to deliberately evoke the image by Valentine Serov of Pavlova in Chopiniana (an earlier version of Les Sylphides) which was used to advertise Diaghilev's 1909 Saison Russe.

The film was one of Victor Dandré’s homages to Pavlova after her death and falls into three parts with an additional staged tribute by members of her former company coming together to perform part of Chopiniana one last time. It draws on the home movies Pavlova made as she travelled round the world and on her experiments in the USA with Lee Forest and Douglas Fairbanks and with her own technical crew in Australia to record some of her repertoire. As Dandré wrote in The Sketch in 1936, ‘We filmed in Java, tried slow motion in Australia, and sound in Hampstead. …for my wife had theories about the films which made them her first hobby in life. The concentration on detail would, she believed, make the film the ideal medium for teaching the dance.’

There was a Gala viewing of the film in London at the Regal Cinema, Marble Arch, on 23 January 1936 at 8.45pm.

Physical description

Colour lithograph poster featuring an image based on a painting by Valentine J. Hugo (Valentine Gross) of Anna Pavlova in Mikhail Fokine’s ballet Les Sylphides, in which Pavlova danced in 1909. It shows Pavlova in a white romantic tutu in an arabesque on pointe. In the background is the Benois-designed set with the ruined abbey, created for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1909. Three corps de ballet members are shown, each on one knee on the grass in the foreground. 'ANNA PAVLOVA' appears in white upper case lettering at the top of the poster, and 'LE CYGNE IMMORTEL' in yellow upper case lettering on the grass beneath her feet. 'C'est un film Plus' features in the upper right part of the poster, in white cursive script above the logo for the Universal Studios, Paris and London. The name and address of the film's distributor is printed along the lower edge in black lower and upper case lettering: 'Distribution M.A.G.I.C. Ltd (France) 97, Bould Gouvion St. Cyr, PARIS.'

Place of Origin

France (printed)

Date

1936 (printed)

Artist/maker

Unknown (printers)
Hugo, Valentine, born 1887 - died 1968 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Dimensions

Height: 111.0 cm, Width: 78.5 cm

Descriptive line

Poster advertising the French production of the biographical film, Anna Pavlova Le Cygne Immortel or Anna Pavlova The Immortal Swan ('un film de son art et sa vie'), directed and edited by Edward Nachimoff under the supervision of Victor Dandré with a French commentary by Albert Grehan, released in 1936

Labels and date

Valentine Hugo’s image of Anna Pavlova in Les Sylphides was used in France to advertise the film The Immortal Swan, which told the story of her life and art. The film pieced together footage from Pavlova’s world tours, and of her dancing. This poster deliberately evokes Valentin Serov’s famous image of Pavlova in arabesque, which advertised Diaghilev’s 1909 Russian season. [16/08/2016]

Materials

Printing ink; Paper

Techniques

Lithography

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Dance; Posters; Advertising

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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