Ida Rubinstein

  • Romaine Brooks, Ida Rubinstein, 1917, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1968.18.10

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

Ida Rubinstein
On View
Not on view.
46 7/8 x 37 in. (119.1 x 94.0 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the artist

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Occupation – other – aristocrat
  • Portrait female – Rubinstein, Ida
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

ca. 1914
black onyx and diamonds in silver and platinum on black velvet ribbon
oil on canvas
exhibited 1910
oil on canvas

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