Today I located this long lost autographed portrait of Igor Schwezoff from his Ballets Russes days circa 1939 – 1941. It has been hidden away in the personal papers and memoirs of the Russian ballerina Lubov Tchernicheva for over 70 years. In a final generous act for her devoted fans, Tchernicheva, donated her personal collection of dance momentos to The Theater Collection of the Houghton Library of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
Lubov Tchernicheva (1890 – 1976) was a leading dancer with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes from 1911-1929. She was married to Sergei Grigoriev, the company Regisseur. She retired in 1926, but was coaxed out of retirement by Rene Blum to star again and serve as ballet mistress for Col. de Basil’s Ballets Russes. Her husband served as Regisseur for this company as well. She continued to perform with this group from 1932-1952. She was essentially such a popular ballerina her public wouldn’t allow her to retire!
During this period, from 1937-1940, that the company spent an extended period in Australia where Igor Schwezoff staged his ballet Lutte Eternelle as I described in my previous blog post.
In the 1950’s the Grigorievs worked together restaging Fokine’s ballets for other ballet companies.
Lubov Tchernicheva was a great beauty and a beautiful dancer. She was acclaimed for her pure classical technique and acting abilities and excelled in exotic roles that tapped her dramatic skills. She caused a sensation in 1918 as Cleopatra in costumes designed by Sonia Delauney.
She dedicated her entire life to performing and teaching the art of ballet and was especially appreciated by other dancers for her generosity with her knowledge, skill and dance experience.
Lubov Tchernicheva was one of the dancers Igor Schwezoff referred to as “The Eternal Greats” whose portraits and performance photos hung on his studio walls to inspire his students to excel.
In honor of Lubov Tchernicheva I will put up a gallery of some of these beautiful photos in my next blog post.
Tags: Art & About, Autograph Igor Schwezoff, Ballet, Choreography by Igor Schwezoff, Dancer, History, Igor Schwezoff, Igor Schwezoff Ballet Master, Images Igor Schwezoff, Lubov Tchernicheva, Lutte Eternelle, The Ballets Russes