Vaslav Nijinsky


Robert Edmond Jones (1887-1954). Till Eulenspiegel, Scene design, ca. 1925. Black crayon and India ink grattage. Howard D. Rothschild Collection. pf MS Thr 414.4 (73). Bequest, 1989.

Scene design by Robert Edmond Jones for Till Eulenspiegel

There could be no greater contrast between the style and technique shown in Robert Edmond Jones’s costume designs for the original production of Nijinsky’s ballet Till Eulenspiegel and this scene rendering for the same produc­tion. The costume designs are drawn in colorful chalk on a dark background, in broad strokes that leave much to the discretion of the costume maker. The scene design, in contrast, is executed using a technique known as “grattage,” similar to the later scratchboard, in which the black wax on a prepared sheet of paper is meticulously scraped away to reveal the image. The effect is highly detailed and starkly effective.