Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 10:31 UK

Ballet Russes regalia and Picasso designs to be shown

A member of staff adjusts a costume titled Costume for the Chinese Conjuror by Pablo Picasso
Picasso designed for Ballet Russes, including Costume for the Chinese Conjuror

An exhibition of works celebrating one of the world's most influential ballet companies will open in London later this year.

The V&A will recreate the glory of the Ballets Russes and its founder Serge Diaghilev with original costumes, set designs, props and musical scores.

The exhibition will also include the largest-known canvas with Picasso's name on it, Le Train Bleu.

It will be open to the public from 25 September to 9 January 2011.

Stage curtain

Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-29 examines "the most exciting dance company of the 20th Century".

The V&A has the world's biggest collection of Ballet Russes designs, costumes, props and archive material, and is also borrowing from private collections for the exhibition.

Picasso became an integral member of the company during World War I, and helped create designs for nine of its ballets.

Le Train Bleu, which is 10 metres (33ft) by 10 metres in size, was the stage curtain that greeted the audience arriving for the touring ballet of the same name.

It was signed by Picasso but was completed by screen painters, who reproduced his work Deux Femmes Courant Sur La Plage.

Picasso was so impressed with the image, which has not been shown in the V&A for more than 30 years, that he signed the reproduction.

The costumes and painted scenery also include Natalia Goncharova's stage backdrop for the final scene of The Firebird (1926). The 10 metres high by 16 metres long canvas will also be shown along with original costumes designed by Picasso, Matisse and Chanel.

Model Erin O'Connor attended the exhibition announcement at the V&A. She said Diaghilev had "changed the history of theatre and the arts as we know it".



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