Autograph letter from Leon Bakst to Ella Hepworth Dixon.
This is a wonderfully personal letter from one of the most influential Russian émigré artists of the twentieth century to a leader of Victorian feminist literature. Ella Hepworth Dixon (1857-1932) was an important figure in the 'New Woman' literary movement. Under the pseudonym of Margaret Wynman she published works critiquing fin de siècle society and detailed the social and economic suffering of women. Her successful novel The Story of a Modern Woman was translated into French and earned her the nickname 'The New Woman' on the continent. Her father, William Hepworth Dixon was also an author and travel writer, notably of The Holy Land (1865).
'Born in Russia in 1866, Léon Bakst belonged to that young generation of European artists who rebelled against 19th century stage realism, which had become pedantic and literal, without imagination or theatricality. There were no specialist trained theatre designers, so painters like Léon Bakst turned their painting skills to theatre design. Bakst's fame lay in the ballets he designed for the Diaghilev Ballets Russes, and huge pageant spectaculars for dancer and patron, Ida Rubinstein. He died in 1924 but after nearly 100 years his magic is as potent as ever, rediscovered by every generation. His influence was such that people who have never heard his name now see the world in a different way' (Victoria & Albert Museum).
Manuscript letter in French on blue card with signed envelope; small 8vo (9 x 11.6 cm); card headed with address '112 Boulevard Malesherbes [Paris]', signed 'Leon Bakst' and dated '16 Janvier 1914', with autograph envelope stamped and addressed to 'Miss Ella Hepworth Dixon. 6 St Jame's Terrace, Regents Park, London'; slight wear top of envelope but otherwise in very good condition
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