Rouge et Noir
Partial set for Rouge et Noir (reconstructed
The Ballet Russe Collection
© 2001 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Symphonic ballet choreographed by Leonide Massine.
Music by Dimitri Shostakovich (Symphony #1).
Decor by Henri Matisse.
Premiere: Monte Carlo, May 11, 1939, by the Ballet Russe de Monte
"...In Paris that June the title was changed to L'Etrange
Farandole, reportedly to acknowledge that Matisse was known to
sing a farandole as he painted, but the original title was restored
when the company reached America. Massine had wanted to collaborate
with Matisse as early as 1937, Matisse proposing a 'vast mural in
motion'. Matisse had the idea of interpreting Shostakovitch in
terms of five colors to which Massine assigned allegorical
significance: white (man and woman), yellow (wickedness), blue
(nature), red (materialism), and black (violence). The designs
consisted of a space all dominated by an arch, while the dancers
wore colored all-over tights. Grace Robert pronounced the results
'extraordinarily effective scenically...The groups formed and came
apart, making wonderful blocks of color like an abstract painting
set in motion.' But Robert Sabin was reminded only of a 'Walpurgis
night in winter underwear'."
Jack Anderson, The One and Only: The Ballet Russe de Monte
The only remaining scenery in our collection are the two arches;
there are no indications as to how they were supposed to fit
together, nor whether there was any backdrop or background or other
scenic elements. The image above has been reconstructed to the best
of our imagination to fit Jack Anderson's description in the quote
above. Below are the pictures of the two individual
Stage Left arch
Stage Right arch
Reproduction, including downloading of Matisse' works is
prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without
the express written permission of Artists Rights Society
(ARS), New York.