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Stage Design for "Turandot" by Carlo Gozzi

Alexandra Exter, Russian (born Ukraine), 1882 - 1949


Watercolor, gouache, metallic paint, and pen and brush and black ink over graphite on paper

Image and sheet: 17 7/16 x 22 5/8 inches (44.3 x 57.5 cm) Mount: 20 x 26 5/16 inches (50.8 x 66.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Simon Lissim in memory of Rufus Waples, 1964

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Exter’s work suggests a link between the pre–World War I Ballets Russes and the post–Russian Revolution experiments of avant-garde theater of the 1920s. Having spent six years in Paris before the outbreak of the war, Exter returned to Russia in 1914 to join Moscow’s Kamerny Theater, where she was a pioneer of constructivist theater design, reimagining the stage as a dynamic unit, organically joining performer and setting. As this décor demonstrates, Exter adapted the striking colors of a Sergei Diaghilev production and rethought its lavish immersive environment as an abstracted architectonic volume, with the actor’s body a mobile element of the whole.