Roseman made the Dance a subject for his drawings in New York City in the 1970's. With invitations from leading dance companies, Roseman drew at dress rehearsals and performances. The website page "Dance from New York to Paris" relates Roseman's work in New York and features drawings Rudolf Nureyev, 1975, Martha Graham Dance Company, collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and Mikhail Baryshnikov, 1975, American Ballet Theatre, collection of the Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, also presented below, (fig. 3).
Drawings account for a great part of Roseman's oeuvre. Speaking about the importance of drawing, Roseman cites Giorgio Vasari, the celebrated sixteenth-century Florentine architect, painter, and biographer of Lives of the Artists, who writes that drawing is ''the parent of our three arts, Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting, having its origin in the intellect.'' Roseman also pays homage to Leonardo da Vinci:
''That drawing is considered the foundation of the visual arts nurtured my early convictions as to the importance of drawing and the time spent in my work as a draughtsman. For Vasari, drawing was the animating principle of the creative process. Leonardo da Vinci said that drawing is 'indispensable' to the painter, sculptor, and architect, as well as the potter, weaver, embroiderer, and goldsmith. It was drawing, Leonardo affirmed, that gave the writer his alphabet, the mathematician his figures, and taught geometers, astronomers, machine builders, and engineers. However, the translation of the Italian word disegno as 'drawing' limits the meaning of the word, for the Florentine Renaissance concept of disegno encompassed more than just a method for recording. Disegno embraced a way of seeing and thinking.''
The Musée Ingres, Montauban, houses an outstanding collection that grew from an important bequest by its native son Ingres. The bequest includes a large corpus of drawings in graphite pencil, a medium preferred by the French master. The Museum conserves a suite of Roseman's drawings on the dance, including Charles Jude and Michaël Denard, 1991, from José Limon's The Moor's Pavane, a balletic version of Shakespeare's Othello. (See "Biography,'' Page 2 - "Variety of Drawing Materials and the World of Shakespeare.'')
The French master Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) asserts by his well-quoted maxim: "Drawing is the integrity of art.'' The Ingres scholar Agnes Mongan, in her Introduction in the Harvard University catalogue to the drawing exhibition Ingres - Centennial Exhibition 1867-1967, cites the influence that Ingres had on following generations of artists: "Degas, for example, who worshipped him and collected his work; Renoir, who watched quietly from a distance with fascinated admiration as Ingres made quick drawings in the Bibliothèque Nationale . . . and Picasso, who has turned to Ingres again and again . . . .'' As Roseman notes in his journal: "I find it especially interesting that the three artists mentioned by Professor Mongan in reference to Ingres and drawing: Degas, Renoir, and Picasso - as well as Ingres himself - dedicated imagery to the subject of dancers.''
Roseman delineates the dancer's head, uplifted arms, broad chest, and tapering abdomen ''with a few masterful strokes of a pencil'' (Associated Press, Paris). A single, continuous, undulating line defines the dancer's lower torso and muscular legs: the right leg, a pillar of support; the left leg thrust high into the air. In this dynamic composition Roseman creates an electrifying image of the male dancer.
The Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, houses a celebrated collection of master drawings, notably from the Italian Renaissance, as well as from the French, Flemish, German, and Dutch schools. The Museum acquired in 1996 a suite of Roseman drawings on the dance at the Paris Opéra. The superb drawing reproduced here, (fig. 7), depicts Paris Opéra star dancer Wilfried Romoli in the exciting, modern dance piece In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, choreographed by William Forsythe for the Paris Opéra Ballet to Tom Willems' pulsating score for synthesizer.
Roseman recounts: "From the time I began drawing the dance at the Paris Opéra in 1989, I had hoped the Company would reprise The Nutcracker with Nureyev's choreography and Elisabeth Maurin as Clara. I did have the wonderful opportunity to draw Elisabeth in the role in which this great ballerina was promoted to étoile (star dancer) in 1988 by Nureyev, then Director of the Dance. It had been eight years since Nureyev's The Nutcracker was presented at the Opéra, and Elisabeth's appearance in the ballet was very much anticipated by the Company, by the ballet-going public, and by me.
The Museum's acquisition of Roseman's drawings include Charles Jude and Florence Clerc, 1991, presented on the home page and "On Drawing on the Dance," Page 4 - "Pas de Deux;" Nicolas Le Riche, 1996, (fig. 11); and Kader Belarbi, 1996, (fig. 12), presented below.
For the gala reopening of the Paris Opéra, Palais Garnier, in March 1996, after a year and a half of renovation, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France presented at the Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra, housed in the Palais Garnier, the exhibition Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris, which spanned six years of the artist's work at the Opéra. Jean Favier, President of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, opened the exhibition on March 12 and signed the exhibition guest book: "avec ma très sincère admiration."
Roseman recounts in his journal: "At the outset of my work at the Paris Opéra in 1989, when I was invited to draw in the dance studios, I was, of course, an unfamiliar presence in that private environment of working rehearsals. Now I was part of that familial environment, and with the upcoming openings of my exhibition on March 12 and the Paris Opéra Ballet on March 18, I was especially looking forward to drawing the dancers in The Four Seasons."
With a few, swift, sure lines of a graphite pencil, Roseman expresses the force of Nature conveyed by Nicolas Le Riche seen here in the dance segment "Autumn." Bold strokes define the taut musculature of the shoulder, back, and buttocks of the male dancer bounding across the picture plane in this dynamic composition drawn with "perfectionism and spontaneity, qualities that are prized by the dancer,'' writes Nicolas Le Riche of Roseman's work.
In joyful celebration of Spring, Kader Belarbi, seen here, strides forward, arms outstretched and head inclined, in a lyrically expressed dance movement that the artist skillfully conveys with pencil and paper. Kader Belarbi writes of Roseman's work: ". . . the sweep of his hand brings forth an economy of line, a stroke of automatism, the vitality of his draughtsmanship. His drawings are movement."
The Uffizi, Florence, conserves the present work Elisabeth Maurin, (fig. 10), a sublime drawing of the star dancer in her acclaimed role as the dreamy young Clara in The Nutcracker. Roseman eloquently conveys with a purity of nuanced line the gracefulness, tenderness of emotion, and virtuosity of Elisabeth Maurin dancing to an exquisite musical passage with silvery tones of a celesta, the instrument Tchaikovsky introduced in this beloved score.
* Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris, (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1996), pp. 12, 13.
1. Stanley Roseman, Stanley Roseman and the Dance - Drawings from the Paris Opéra, (Paris: Ronald Davis, 1996), p. 9.
2. Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris, (text in French and English), p. 11.
3. Giorgio Vasari, Vasari on Technique, (New York: Dover, 1960), p. 205.
4. Serge Bramly, Leonardo, (London : Michael Joseph, 1992), p. 260.
5. Stanley Roseman and the Dance - Drawings from the Paris Opéra, p. 9.
6. Agnes Mongan, Ingres - Centennial Exhibition 1867-1967, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University, 1967), p. xvii.
7., 8., and 9. Stanley Roseman and the Dance - Drawings from the Paris Opéra, p. 14.
10. and 11. Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris, (text in French and English), pp. 13, 14.