The Mikhail Baryshnikov Collection

In 2013, BAC's Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikov gifted 107 drawings and paintings to BAC. The group of artworks is called The Mikhail Baryshnikov Collection.

Mr. Baryshnikov’s interest and fascination with the world of visual art started in the 1970’s, when he began to assemble a variety of small-scale works on paper. A few of the works came to him as gifts, but he procured a vast majority of the collection, purchasing individual pieces he appreciated aesthetically over many years.

Mr. Baryshnikov then gave his collection to the organization of which he is founder and artistic director, as a means of broadening the scope of BAC's activities. BAC seeks opportunities to showcase the collection and support further examination of the artworks, which largely reflect the performing arts in thematic content.

One of the collection’s notable aspects is stylistic diversity, including realism, impressionism, surrealism, and some works of theater, set, and costume design. To view a selection of the works, scroll to the photo album below.

Exhibition Chronology:
2012: ABA Gallery, New York City, USA
2013: Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia
2015: Art Museum Riga Bourse, organized in collaboration with Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga, Latvia

In his introduction to the exhibition catalogue, Mr. Baryshnikov recounts the beginnings of his collection:

“I first wandered into the Galerie Proscenium on the Rue de Seine in Paris in the winter of 1975. I was finally in the city I’d dreamt about since childhood. The dollar was strong and I had money in my pocket. Hanging on the gallery walls were original costume and scenic designs by Christian Bérard, Jean Cocteau, Leonor Fini, Léon Bakst, and others. These were names I knew from school and I’d seen reproductions of their work in books, but never the real thing up close and available to buy. I left the gallery giddy with excitement and, tucked under my arm, a Cocteau drawing of Sergei Diaghilev and a Bérard design for Balanchine’s Mozartiana. At the hotel, I unwrapped them and propped them up on the desk like a proud father. I think I spent weeks staring at those drawings trying to absorb that they were truly mine.” Read More

In art historian John Bowlt's essay on The Mikhail Baryshnikov Collection, he writes:

The collection “reveals a common denominator, an esthetic and even emotional axis which has driven, and continues to drive, the collector and his creation—and that is the art of motion, whether in classical ballet (Benois’s designs for Nutcracker), the danse plastique (Fini’s fluent interpretations), social gesture (Arefiev’s anonymous couples), or simply amicable encounters between geniuses of the dance (Merce Cunningham’s dedication to Baryshnikov).” Read More

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