Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Documents concerning Parade: [Letter from Picasso to Cocteau]

Author:
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France)
Correspondent:
Jean Cocteau (French, Maisons-Laffitte 1889–1963 Milly-la-Forêt)
Date:
1916-1917
Dimensions:
62 items : illustrations, music
Credit Line:
Bequest of William S. Lieberman
Accession Number:
GV1790.P34 C63 1916 Folder 9 Item 7
Not on view
Title devised by cataloger



Folder 1. "Parade": Cocteau's handwritten draft of libretto for Parade (1 clothbound notebook ; 28 cm.). -- Folder 2. "Etudes pour Parade": Cocteau's handwritten notes (1 sketchbook of brown paper ; 32 cm.). -- Folder 3. Notes by Cocteau: 1 introductory sheet, 1 note addressed to Satie on 2 sheets, the rest are separated into groups with captions: "Pour le numéro de la petite fille americaine," "Pour le numéro de prestidigitateur chinois," "Pour le numéro de l'acrobate." (31 folded sheets ; 30 x 40 cm. folded to 30 x 20 cm.). -- Folder 4. Cocteau's notes for an unpublished article about Parade, similar to one which appeared in Vanity Fair, 1917 (6 blue sheets ; 20 x 26 cm. 3 typewritten pages ; 31 cm.). -- Folder 5. 6 handwritten letters: 1 from Picasso dated October 6, 1916, 1 from Massine to Cocteau dated January 21, 2 by Cocteau which are undated, 2 postcards from Satie to Cocteau with one dated May 2, 1917. -- Folder 6. Cocteau's handwritten notes for Parade captioned "La Petite Fille Americaine," "L'acrobate", and "Le Prestidigitateur chinois." (3 folded sheets : 31 x 40 cm. folded to 31 x 20 cm.). -- Folder 7. Cocteau's notes with text in black and red ink and some drawings in red ink. (1 folded sheet ; 60 x 40 cm. folded to 30 x 20 cm.). -- Folder 8. Cocteau's final handwritten draft (2 folded sheets ; 60 x 40 cm. folded to 30 x 20 cm.). -- Folder 9. Postcards and letters (5 postcards from Satie to Cocteau dated May 24 & 29, 1917 and some undated. 1 undated letter from Satie to Cocteau. 1 letter from Picasso to Cocteau dated October 10, 1916, Paris) -- Folder 10. "Parade, Ballet réaliste": copyist's manuscript for rehearsal of Parade (48 pages ; 36 cm.) "R.L. 10431" (Rouart & Lerolle plate number of the published piano 4-hands arrangement) written in pencil on bottom of title page. Date at end of score: 1917



This collection of unknown provenance offers insight into the conceptual development and timeline for the collaboration in the creation of Parade. The initial idea for the ballet Parade came to Cocteau upon hearing Satie playing a piece of his own music in 1916, so he approached Satie and suggested a collaboration. Serge Diaghilev had previously encouraged Cocteau to create something for him and both Cocteau and Satie very much wanted their Parade to be staged by Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. In order to make the project more alluring to Diaghilev, they began to woo Picasso in order to get him to participate with the stage and costume design. The correspondence clearly indicate that Picasso, Cocteau, and Diaghilev were meeting together by October 6, 1916 in Paris. The first production of Parade took place on May 18, 1917 in Paris. Satie's postcards in this collection dated May 24 & 29, 1917 were written only a few weeks after the initial performance



“The musical score is most likely a copyist's manuscript for rehearsal. The sketchbooks/manuscript are in the BNF, and can be seen online. This copy was probably made from the notebooks at the BNF. There are clear indications that it was used as the Ballets russes and Massine worked out the order on stage, as - most notably - we see the initial indication of the “Prestidigitateur Chinois” is in the place indicated in Cahier 1 at the BNF, but here it is scratched out and “Premier manager” is substituted." -- Christopher Schiff, Music and Arts Librarian, The George and Helen Ladd Library, Bates College
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