Inscribed to Proust's Russian-born friend

BARBIER, George (artist) and Jean-Louis VAUDOYER

Album dédié à Tamar Karsavina

Publication: Collections Pierre Corrard, Paris, 1914.

BARBIER, George (artist) and Jean-Louis VAUDOYER, Album dédié à Tamar Karsavina

A classic Ballets-Russes work inscribed to a Russian-born Parisian lady, while she was helping Proust publishing the beginning of his ‘Recherche’: a fine example of the first edition of this famous work.

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Our Notes & References

Fine example of this celebrated Art Déco album, inscribed upon publication by both Barbier and Vaudoyer to Marcel Proust’s close friend, a Russian-born socialite in Paris, Marie Scheikévitch (Sheikevich, 1882-1964). A daughter of a high-ranking Moscow lawyer and art collector, she moved with her family to France in 1896 and became an art patron, a hostess of a literary salon in Paris and a daughter-in-law of the French painter Carolus Duran. Scheikévitch was good friends with Jean Cocteau, Anna de Noailles, Reynaldo Hahn, and particularly Marcel Proust, whose biographer George D. Painter calls her “une des maîtresses de maison les plus intelligentes et les plus en vue de la nouvelle génération”.

Just around the time of Barbier’s publication, Scheikévitch played a significant role in the initial reception of the first volume of À la recherche du temps perdu: she used her influential connections to encourage the press to give more attention to Proust’s book in 1913. As a thank-you gesture, Proust sent her in 1915 a copy of Du côté de chez Swann with a long “dédicace capitale” giving (for the first time!) important details about the forthcoming volumes of “La Recherche” (acquired by the BnF in 2021). Scheikévitch also inspired one of Proust’s characters, Madame Timoléon d’Amoncourt, “petite femme charmante, d’un esprit, comme sa beauté, si ravissant, qu’un seul des deux eût réussi à plaire” in Sodome et Gomorrhe (1921); she left memoirs about their warm and friendly relationship in her Souvenirs d’un Temps Disparu (1935).

The prima ballerina of the Imperial Russian Ballet and then Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978) became a legend in her own lifetime. This landmark edition celebrating her work brings together 15 poems on her major roles by the writer and art historian Jean-Louis Vaudoyer (1883-1963) — who earlier in his career had written the libretto for the ballet Le Spectre de la Rose (1911) starring Karsavina — and 12 full-page fresh stencil-coloured plates and three black and white compositions by the prominent artist George Barbier (1882-1932), who also began his career as a costume and set designer for the Ballets Russes. The album’s elegant art-deco black and gold cover is also a creation of Barbier.


Madame M. Scheikévitch (inscription by the authors on upper flyleaf, dated 11 May 1914); acquried from the estate of Jacques Crépineau (1932-2017, a prominent French theatre critic, writer and long-time director of Theatre de la Michodière in Paris).


Maurois, André, V poiskakh Marselia Prusta, 2011; Desanges, Gérard. “Marie Scheikévitch”, 2021.

Item number



Physical Description

Quarto (32.5 x 27.5 cm). Complete with 12 pochoir plates.


Publisher’s illustrated wrappers.


Cover edges lightly browned and rubbed, otherwise excellent.

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