Tamara Karsavina, ballet dancer of the Ballets Russes
signed and titled 'La Karsavina J.E. Blanche' (lower right) and signed again 'J.E. Blanche' (upper right)
oil on canvas
3978 x 30 in. (101 x 76 cm.)
Painted in 1928.
Tamara Bruce née Karsavina, London.
Lady Mary Stewart Evans, London.
Gifted from the above to Mr. Roger Tully on 3 February 1977.
Thence by descent.
Special notice
Please note this lot is the property of a consumer. See H1 of the Conditions of Sale.
Brought to you by

Lot Essay

Jane Robert’s notes that “as a "founder member" of the Ballets Russes, Blanche was able to attend all rehearsals and dress rehearsals, as well as any performances that he wanted to see. In Auteuil he also entertained the "stars", chaperoned on several occasions by Diaghilev. "Jacques-Emile Blanche's garden was suddenly invaded by exotic blooms. The stage at the Châtelet has found a radiant annex under the chestnut trees of Auteuil," wrote the journalist Lucien Corpechot” (Jacques Émile Blanche 1861-1942, exh. cat. Musée de l’Orangerie, 1943, p. 17 quoted in J. Roberts, Jacques Émile-Blanche, Paris, 2012, p. 142).

In her autobiography, Theatre Street, Tamara Karsavina recalls sitting for Jacques-Emile Blanche in 1911: "That summer I sat to Jacques Blanche for my portrait. A quieter refuge from the feverish pulsation of Parisian life could not have been found than his large studio at Passy. The same restfulness emanated from the artist himself. There was before me yet another aspect of French mind. In his mouth the un- avoidable personal remarks of artist to model had the flavour of dispassionate observation. His sense of the picturesque he said was curiously amused by the slender structure of my facial bones and the unexpected vigour of my neck. To bring out this peculiarity he had long studied me, finally deciding on the turn of the head, which seems to give me something imperative to the pose of Firebird which he had chosen". (Tamara Karsavina, Theatre Street, London, 1930, p. 294).

Andrew Foster succinctly observes that Tamara Karsavina “...had reigned supreme as Diaghilev’s prima ballerina, and in a London which had seen Preobrajenskaya and Kshesinskaya, Pavlova and Nijinsky, she was acclaimed as perhaps the greatest of the Russian dancers" (A. Foster, Tamara Karsavina: Diaghilevs Ballerina, Singapore, 2010, p.8).

We are grateful to Jane Roberts for her assistance in preparing this catalogue entry. This painting will be sold with a certificate of authenticity by Jane Roberts dated 18 September 2020 and will be included in her forthcoming catalogue raisonné on the artist under no.1494.

Related Articles

Sorry, we are unable to display this content. Please check your connection.

More from
British and European Art
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report