As part of the centenary celebrations of the Ballets Russes and concurrent with the exhibition in Villa Sauber, “Etonne moi! Serge Diaghilev & les Ballets Russes”, the Salle des Arts at the Sporting d’Hiver is presently showcasing one of the largest paintings by Picasso: the stage curtain, created in 1924 upon Diaghilev's request, fro one of his operettas entitled "Le Train Bleu".
A dance performed in one act to the music of Darius Milhaud, choreography by Bronislava Nijinska, and based on a scenario by Jean Cocteau, the title derives from the luxury train that once linked Paris with Deauville. Put into service in 1922, the corridors of the sleeper cars were blue and gold. The train consisted exclusively of sleeper cars, a restaurant and an extremely elegant bar for which it gained its reputation, particularly among the high society that regularly travelled on it. The actual setting of the ballet takes place on a beach filled with bathing huts and colourful sunshades. For the stage curtain, Picasso chose to enlarge an oil painting he had created in 1922, La Course. Representing two “monumental” women running along the seafront under a bright blue sky, the work is the expression of his vision of the pleasures of the beach and sport.
On loan from the Theatre Museum of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, its most precious item, the gigantic work is set off beautifully in the Salle des Arts where it can be admired until 30th August.
Rideau de scène pour Le Train bleu, 1924
Huile sur toile, 1040 x 1176 cm
Theatre Museum of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
© Succession Picasso 2009