A new exhibit of modern stage design, Creating the Modern Stage: Designs for Theater and Opera, opened last month and is behind held through August 16 at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York.
The exhibition features over 50 drawings from the Morgan holdings, principally from the collection formed by the renowned American set designer Donald Oenslager (1902–1975). Accompanying the drawings are related materials, including musical scores, rare books, and autographed manuscripts as well as more than 30 performance photographs documenting the finished sets.
The exhibition is divided into four sections based on the themes Origins of Modern Scenic Theory, Destroying Tradition, the Russian Avant-Garde, and Diversity of the American Stage. The exhibition opens with visionary drawings for the stage by Edward Gordon Craig (1872–1966) as well as texts fundamental to the foundation of modern scenic theory by Craig and the Swiss stage designer Adolphe Appia (1862–1928). Additional designers represented include Ludwig Sievert, Emil Orlik, Mihail Fedorovitch Andreenko, Alexandre Benois, Serge Diaghilev, Léon Bakst, Alexandra Exter, Natalia Goncharova, Nikolaǐ Pavlovich Akimov, Robert Edmond Jones, Lee Simonson, Claude Fayette Bragdon, Woodman Thompson, Norman Bel Geddes, Serge Soudeikine, Erté, Oliver Smith, and Eugene Berman.
Creating the Modern Stage: Set Designs for Theater and Opera is organized by Jennifer Tonkovich, curator of drawings and prints, with the assistance of Elizabeth Nogrady, Moore Curatorial Fellow, The Morgan Library & Museum. The exhibit was made possible through the generosity of Jane and Robert Carroll and Eliot and Wilson Nolen. Generous assistance is also provided by the David L. Klein Jr. Foundation and the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Check the Morgan Library and Museum website for specific discussions available related to this exhibit.