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Ida Rubinstein

1917 Romaine Brooks Born: Rome, Italy 1874 Died: Nice, France 1970 oil on canvas 46 7/8 x 37 in. (119.1 x 94.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the artist 1968.18.10 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

Brooks met Russian dancer and arts patron Ida Rubinstein in Paris after Rubinstein's first performance as the title character in Gabriele D'Annunzio's play The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian. Rubinstein was already well known for her refined beauty and expressive gestures; she secured her reputation as a daring performer by starring as the male saint in this boundary-pushing show that combined religious history, androgyny, and erotic narrative. Brooks found her ideal -- and her artistic inspiration -- in the tall, lithe, sensuous Rubinstein, who modeled for many sketches, paintings, and photographs Brooks produced during their relationship, from 1911 to 1914. In her autobiographical manuscript, "No Pleasant Memories," Brooks said the inspiration for this portrait came as the two women walked through the Bois de Boulogne on a cold winter morning.

The Art of Romaine Brooks, 2016

Keywords

Occupation - other - aristocrat

Portrait female - Rubinstein, Ida

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas