Léon Bakst

1866 (Grodno, Belarus) – 1924 (Paris)

Diaghilev and Dobuzhinsky were fellow-members of The World of Art; Bakst later became an influential founding member of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Chagall, Matyushin and Guro were among his students (Chagall fortunately ignoring his advice not to go to Paris if he wanted to survive). Proust visited the Ballets Russes and admired and wrote about him (it is unclear whether they ever met). Debussy was together with him in Ida Rubinstein’s apartment when she staggered in naked and bleeding (a pet panther was to blame). He advised the besotted Picasso he’d only get the chaste Olga Khokhlova by marrying her.

Léon Bakst knew…