Saturday, January 29, 2011

Paris Ballet Sketches

Paris, je t'aime!

I love the Ballet, and these sketches of Parisian ballerinas.

They are the work of the American artist Rufus Dryer (b. 1880 in Rochester, New York). In 1901 Dryer studied in New York City with the artist Robert Henri, and in 1908, went with him to paint in Europe.

Dryer settled in Paris in 1910. He had his studio there for twenty years. He studied at the Academie Julian, and exhibited at the Salon d'Automne and Salon des Independents. These sketches must date from that time.

The three sketches above seem to show the influence of Degas' sculpture "La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze" (Little Dancer of Fourteen Years) of 1881.

Rufus Dryer returned to his native Upstate New York in 1930. He and his sister, Leora (also a gifted artist) maintained a studio at their home Highacres, in Geneva, NY. When he passed away in 1937, the Geneva Historical Society was gifted with a monumental Aubusson carpet which had once hung in his Paris studio, an impressive collection of his paintings, and a death mask of the artist. I first encountered this artist, and his work, when I visited the Museum as a young graduate student. I was looking for a subject for a final project, and I became fascinated by the story of Rufus Dryer. It was thrilling years later to unearth these sketches in a little antiques shop in New York State.

Here is a bouquet from me to three of my favourite Ballet kindred spirits, who appear regularly in the blogsphere: Catherine from A Thousand Clapping Hands and Boxes and other Structures , and Anita from Castles Crowns and Cottages, and of course, Ballet News .



  1. OMG MARJORIE!!!! Wait...first of all, these ballet sketches resemble the ones I HAVE DRAWN! I should post them some time! AND THEN, IT IS SO GOOD TO SEE YOU DEAREST! AND are so, so kind and wonderful to mention me, MOI??? Oh, how have you been? WOOOOOO, it has been a busy new year with our two room addition and a wild school year, but can't complain!!! AND YOU? What a lovely post. I love simple pencil sketches. While I respect anyone who can paint, I prefer simple sketches. These are wonderful, and SO ARE YOU TO MENTION ME amongst the other fine ladies. Do come by again! I had not seen you around for a while....stay well dearest, Anita

  2. These are beautiful, Marjorie, and it must have been such a thrill to discover them given your fascination with Dryer! What a find. xo Gigi

  3. What a fabulous find! True treasure. Lovely post.

  4. These are true beauties! I remember seeing once some sketches of Nijinsky dancing, except now I cannot remember who they were by!