Throwback Thursday! In 2010, Dorothea Tanning: Early Designs for the Stage presented approximately twenty hand-drawn ballet costume designs by Dorothea Tanning (b.1910) created in collaboration with the early modernist choreographer, George Balanchine. Dating from 1945–1953, the designs were shown together for the first time, and were accompanied by archival photographs and ephemera related to the staged productions. 

This series explores the dynamic intersections of dance, performance, visual art, and costume, while drawing important parallels to Tanning’s early discoveries in both painting and sculpture. Taking the form of traditional fashion plates, the blithely rendered drawings are suggestive of bodies in motion and portrayals of outlandish characters through the quirky detailing and sensual drapery of the costumes. 


Dorothea Tanning, Costume Design for Bayou, 1951. Graphite and gouache on green paper, 12 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches. Collection of the artist.

Dorothea Tanning, Costume Design for The Witch (The Girl Before), 1950. Gouache on dark blue paper, 16 x 11 1/2 inches. Collection of the artist. 

Dorothea Tanning, Costume Design for Night Shadow (A Guest), 1945. Watercolor and wash on paper, 13 7/8 x 9 7/8 inches. Collection of the artist.