Ida Rubinstein

Media - 1968.18.10 - SAAM-1968.18.10_2 - 123778
Copied Romaine Brooks, Ida Rubinstein, 1917, oil on canvas, 46 7837 in. (119.194.0 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1968.18.10

Artwork Details

Ida Rubinstein
Not on view
46 7837 in. (119.194.0 cm.)
signed lower left in oil: romaine 1917:
Credit Line
Gift of the artist
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Portrait
  • Occupation — other — aristocrat
  • Portrait female — Rubinstein, Ida
Object Number

Artwork Description

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