Alexey Brodovitch (American, born Russia, 18981971)
Gelatin silver print; 6 x 8 5/8 in. (15.2 x 21.9 cm)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gift, 2005 (2005.100.295)
As an innovative art director at Harper's Bazaar from 1934 to 1958, Brodovitch exerted a tremendous influence on the presentation of photographs on the printed page. This particular image, from his book Ballet, published in 1945, illustrates a section devoted to Le Tricorne, a ballet choreographed by Léonide Massine to the music of Manuel de Falla, with sets and costumes by Picasso. It was performed in the mid-1930s by one of the offshoots of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. As Edwin Denby wrote in his introduction to the book, "the blurred outline of the dancer, assimilated to the general dim effect, registers as a metaphor of motion...." It was this emphasis on the depiction of mood and atmosphere that pervaded his graphic design and prompted his support of photographers like Richard Avedon, Louis Faurer, Robert Frank, and Lisette Model in the pages of Harper's Bazaar.