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Romaine Brooks

La Venus triste 
(The Weeping Venus)
Ida Rubinstein Model

Ida Rubinstein
Antonio de la Gandara - French portrait painter (1861-1917)
Artist's family collection
Oil on canvas
Jpg: Xavier Mathieu

Ida Rubinstein (1885-1960) was a famous actress and  dancer.

She was born in St. Petersburg, but had no formal training in ballet and was an amateur dancer; but because of her wealth and her stunning beauty, she was lucky enough to buy her way in the door and essentially became her own patron. As a result, and when it was all said and done, she would play a significant role within the Paris Opera scene. 

She did briefly study privately (in the beginning) under Mikhail Fokine whom had choreographed her debut in 1909 for a private performance of Oscar Wilde's Salomé  -- In the finale the Dance of the Seven Veils she was left totally nude.

Because of her great beauty Serge Diaghilev took her in with the Ballets Russes and cast her in the title role of Cléopâtre in his first Paris season (1909) and then as Zobeide in 1910. 

After 1911 she left the Russes. In '28 she formed her own ballet company, which presented ballets by some of the greatest artists of the time; choreography by Nijinska, Massine, Fokine, and Jooss; original scores by Ravel, Stravinsky, Sauguet, Arthur Honegger, and others. The company disbanded 1935. 

With her wealth she commissioned a number works and performed in many plays and dances for the Paris Opera and would become an important patron to new artists.

She died in 1960
(Rosina Neginsky)
(Andros on Ballet Home)

From: Xavier Mathieu
Date: Friday, October 22, 2004

Natasha bonjour,

I discovered this week a letter dated Feb, 1914 and a French revue dated June 1913 which make reference to the Ida Rubinstein portrait by La Gandara.

The portrait was exhibited in Paris Salon in the spring of 1914, but it’s now evident that the canevas was realised in the first two quarters of 1913.

All my best


Special thanks to Xavier Mathieu, of France, a friend of the JSS Gallery, for sending me the image and information.



By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2004 all rights reserved
Created 3/25/2003