The plywood Nutcracker has been transformed into "THE NUTCRACKER IN 1893". (Click on any image to enlarge.) This is a mixed media collage of antique and vintage images that illustrate all the scenes from the Nutcracker Ballet. I tried to use pictures that dated as close to the 1893 premiere as possible....but some are twenty years early and others are 32 years later....but close enough! The work is to be used in a fund-raiser for Columbia City Ballet.
(Above: Detail of the shield.)
Even the base is done in chromolithographs of textile designs, dated 1883. I added buttons....including over a dozen vintage black glass ones from the Czech Republic for his beard!
(Above: Detail of the vintage glass buttons from the Czech Republic.)
On the back is the following full-sheet label and my signature:
The Nutcracker in 1893
Mixed Media Collage by Susan Lenz
The great French born Marius Petipa and his successor Lev Ivanov created the two-act Nutcracker Ballet as an adaption of E. T. A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”. It was premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on December 18, 1892 and set to the original score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Columbia artist Susan Lenz first saw the Nutcracker at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina during Thanksgiving weekend 1987. William Starrett, a guest dancer performing the Sugar Plum Cavalier, partnered rising star Mariclare Miranda. Susan was pregnant with her first, Mathias Lenz Dingman, now a first-artist with Birmingham Royal Ballet who has danced Nutcracker roles as Jack-in-the-Box, rat, Spanish, Clara’s Act One cadet partner, Russian, and others. Mathias has also danced the role of Sugar Plum Cavalier at the Township Auditorium with Carolina Ballet (2005). Thus, creating this Nutcracker has been an opportunity for Susan Lenz to reflect on the ballet, her personal association with the local company, and the traditions of dance carried through generations of performers. A mixed media collage of vintage images dating as close to 1893 became Susan’s concept for the piece. Below is a selected list of sources for the vintage and antique images used.
Dance and Dancers of Today, 1912 by Charles Henry and Carolina Chaffin. (The photos used include: Anna Pavlowa; Adeline Genée in her Butterfly Dance; Lydia Lopoukowa in the dance-drama Shéhérazade; Rita Sacchetto in her Spanish Dance: Adeline Genée in her Empire Dance; Ruth St. Denis in the Nautch Dance; Mlle. Katarina Geltzer of the Russian Imperial Ballet; and Adeline Genée in the Silver Star.)
Art and Architecture, World’s Columbia Exposition by George Barre, 1894-95
Handbook to Paris and Its Environs by Thomas Carlyle, 1893.
Auguste Racinet’s Le Costume Historique, 1876-88. (Edition used was published in 1880. Images used include costume chromolithographs from India, Spain, and Russia)
Little Pictures of Japan, edited by Olive Beaupré Miller and illustrated by Katharine Stuges, 1925
Nursery Friends from France, translated by Olive Beaupré Miller and illustrated by Maud and Miska Petersham, 1925
Tales Told in Holland, edited by Olive Beaupré an dillustrated by Maud and Miska Petersham, 1926.
Ornamente der Gewebe (Ornamental Tapestries) with chromolithographs by Friedrick Fischbach, 1883.
Animate Creation, 1894 with chromolithographs by Selmar Hess
Buffon’s Historie Naturelle, ca. 1840.And assorted other 19th century engravings and lithographs.