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Costume Design, Opera, Paul Rene Larthe, Art Deco, Watercolor


Paul-René Larthe (French, fl. 1930s to 1940s)
Art Deco Costume Design
French: c. 1930s-1940s
Signed pencil lower right
Stamped upper right: 8797
Gouache and watercolor on paper
13.5 x 9.5 inches
Provenance: Sotheby’s, London

Art Deco costume design in gold, blue and black, probably created for a ballet or opera, possibly the Paris Opera, where Larthe did the design work for which he is best known. This costume features a short black vest, blue and gold loincloth, beaded necklace, bracelets, and a large round hat with long dangling tassels. It seems to be derived from a combination of exotic, non-Western styles, the hat and the hanging-lantern prop evoking the Far East, the vest and loincloth reminiscent of ancient Egypt.

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Paul-René Larthe was a French costume and set designer for several ballets and operas performed at the Paris Opera during the 1930s. Ballet credits include sets and costumes for dances choreographed by Serge Lifar and Albert Aveline, including Lifar’s Alexandre le Grand and Icare and Aveline’s Coppélia (sets only) and Les Deux Pigeons. Opera credits include the set designs for Camille Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Delila. Larthe is known for his neoclassical style.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning and wear. Left margin cropped affecting small section of image, other margins ample but not straight cut. One-inch vertical slit centered in right margin, not obtrusive. Pencil sketches, notations, etc., possibly in artist’s hand, verso.


“Alexandre le Grand.” Internet Dance Database. 2003-2005. (1 October 2007).

Garafola, Lynn. “Looking back at the Ballets Russes: rediscovering Serge Lifar – Lifar’s life and art collection.” Originally in Dance Magazine, October 1997. Online at LookSmart. (1 October 2007).

“Paul Larthe.” Internet Dance Database. 2003-2005. (1 October 2007).

Additional information


20th Century