In France on this date 100 years ago, May 29th, 1913…

…a new ballet, The Rite of Spring, staged by Igor Stravinksy, 30, and the Ballets Russes under the direction of Serge Diaghilev, 41, with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky, 24, premiers in Paris at the Theatre Champs Elysees. The audience disapproves with shouts and hisses. But Marcel Duchamp, 25, has already put a bicycle wheel on a stool and called it art, and back in America, the Armory Show has closed, having introduced the States to the latest in painting and sculpture in Europe.


This is from the original shocking production of the  ballet.

This is from the original shocking production of the ballet.

rite of spring music


The American Stein family are living in Paris, collecting paintings, but a few months ago Leo, 41, moved out of 27 rue de Fleurus, leaving the apartment and artists’ salons to his sister, Gertrude, 39, and her new partner, Alice B. Toklas, 36, also from San Francisco.  An art critic observed of the salons at this time, ‘After the Armory Show had ended and everybody in America had said something witty about [Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase], the crowds of pilgrims became too dense for even [Stein’s] energy to cope with, and her “Saturday nights” gradually became less frequent and certainly less tumultuous. By the time I reached them…an evening party [at 27 rue de Fleurus]…was much like a party anywhere else, though, of course, livelier…But there were no altercations. How could there be? Everyone had been vindicated. Cezannes had suddenly increased in price and the Metropolitan [Museum of Art], much against its will, had been obligated to buy one.”

Another American art collector John Quinn, 43, is collecting manuscripts from writers not as well-known as they soon will be, mostly on the advice of his friend, Ezra Pound, 28. Quinn writes to one of them, Joseph Conrad, 55, that “the passion for having things and collecting things and doing things and being something is a cursed, damnable passion after all.”

Back in the States, Woodrow Wilson, 56, has taken the oath of office as the 28th president. His personal pastor from Princeton, NJ, is Rev. Sylvester Beach, whose daughter, Sylvia, 26, has enjoyed the family visits to Paris so much, she has been thinking about moving there and opening her own bookshop.

Here’s a clip of the Joffrey Ballet’s 1989 reconstruction of the original The Rite of Spring: