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1889, Petropavlovsk (Kazakhstan) — 1974, Paris

Portrait of Elena Annenkova

1917


Elena Borisovna Annenkova (née Galperina/ Halpern) (1897–1980): Student of Isadora Duncan, ballerina, actress of Nicolas Balieff’s Chauve-Souris, Nikolai Yevreinov’s Crooked Mirror, Vera Komissarzhevskaya Theatre, first wife of Georges Annenkoff. Cousin of the second wife of Alexander Osmerkin. Returned to the Soviet Union from France (late 1920s).
Georges Annenkoff met his future wife, the barefooted dancer Elena Halpern, when working on a production of Homo sapiens for Nikolai Yevreinov’s Crooked Mirror company. A follower of Isadora Duncan’s ballet system, Elena opened her own dance school in Russia.
The artist aspires to record an instant of movement and to introduce the fourth dimension (time) into the portrait. The sharply breaking lines ideally convey the ballerina’s character and the rhythmic pattern of her dancing. lmpetuosity and languor are confined within the distinct black contour and pastel tones. The multi-directional planes are like pieces of broken glass, reminding the viewer that Elena danced at the Crooked Mirror Theatre.


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