Olive COTTON, Helene Kirsova as The Doll in Enlarge 1 /1


Australia 1911 – 2003

Helene Kirsova as The Doll in "Petrouchka'" 1938 Creation Notes: printed 1984
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: Signed l.r. print border, pencil, "Oliver Cotton". Dated l.l. print border pencil, "...'38". Titled l.l. print border, pencil, "Helene Kirsova as The Doll in "Petrouchka".
Dimensions: printed image 38.0 h x 30.6 w cm sheet 47.6 h x 37.8 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1987
Accession No: NGA 87.1763

The Danish ballerina Hélène Kirsova was a member of the Monte Carlo Ballet Russe, which toured Australia in 1936–37. Kirsova returned to Australia in late 1937 to marry, and soon established her own, albeit short-lived dance troupe, Kirsova Ballet – one of a number of progressive dance companies to be established in Australia at this time by émigré dancers, including Edouard Borovansky and Gertrud Bodenwieser. Dupain took publicity photographs for both the 1936–37 Ballet Russe tour and for Kirsova’s company during the early 1940s. Cotton photographed the ballerina in the Dupain studio, probably during February 1937, when Kirsova received high praise for her performance in the company’s performance of L’amour sorcier; this picture demonstrates Cotton’s tremendous command of light, whether in the studio or outside.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra