The Ballet Russe Affair

sex, love, relationships, dance, Romaine Brooks, Saint Sabastian, Paris, 1900
Dwarf (D’Annunzio) shoots arrows at a fair-haired Ida Rubenstein.

This year the Ballet Russe is on the scene celebrating its centennial. Ida Rubenstein, Romaine’s lover, was a star of the ballet who electrified Paris with her sensational performances. The triangle that emerged between Romaine, Gabriele D’Annunzio, and Ida was almost as spectacular as the opulent staging of the Ballet Russe’s Cleopatre and Scheherezade.

Brooks satirized the relationship by presenting D’Annunzio’s thwarted desires in this scathing parody after her breakup with D’Annunzio. Her revenge — she invited him to her studio to see the painting. We don’t know what transpired between the two of them; only that the friendship continued, albeit on a different basis, for the rest of their lives.

I go into this in much more depth and analysis in my forthcoming book, Romaine Brooks: A Life.

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