Being Human Festival at the V&A : The Queer Allure of Art Deco

Furniture, Textiles & Fashion
October 20, 2017
Detail of fashion plate by George Barbier, from Dessins sur les danses de Vaslav Nijinsky, published Paris, 1913. V&A E.772-1954

Being Human Festival at the V&A : The Queer Allure of Art Deco

Sat 25 November 2017, 15:00 – 17:00

Prints and Drawings Study Room, V&A Museum

Ticketed event, booking essential

Costume design for Prince Assad by Erté (Romain de Tirtoff), L’Orient Merveilleux ou 1002 Nuits de Bagdad, Ba-Ta-Clan, Paris, 1917. V&A CIRC.981-1967

As part of the Being Human Festival, the V&A’s LGBTQ Working Group invite you to join us for an illustrated one hour talk in the Prints and Drawings Study Room. We will be looking at queer aesthetics in original prints, drawings, and designs in the V&A collection by visual artists from the Art Deco period, particularly stage and costume designers George Barbier, Leon Bakst, and Erté, as well as photographers Cecil Beaton and Paul Tanqueray, and performers including revered actress Alla Nazimova, ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, and actor Rudolph Valentino.

The group will then enjoy a 45 minute (approx.) screening of specially curated clips, featuring excerpts from filmed productions of the era including stunning Natacha Rambova designs in the 1921 Rudolph Valentino film, ‘Camille’; costumes by George Barbier for another Valentino vehicle of 1924 entitled ‘Monsieur Beaucaire’ of 1924; and Erté’s art direction for The Hollywood Revue of 1929.

Tickets are free but booking is essential, as numbers to the Study Room must be strictly controlled. Please register via this Eventbrite link.

Title-plate of Falbalas et Fanfreluches. Almanach des modes… (1 of 40) by George Barbier, Paris, 1926. V&A E.615-1954

Once registered, on the day please come to the Prints and Drawings Study Room for a start time of 3pm. If you reserve a ticket then realise you are not able to attend, please do cancel your booking to free up a place for somebody else.

Access: The Museum is fully accessible from the main entrance on Cromwell Road and the new courtyard entrance on Exhibition Road. The Study Room is on Level 4 of the Henry Cole Wing of the V&A. The simplest way in is to enter the building via the new Exhibition Road courtyard entrance, turn left and go through the new shop. The lift and stairs are at the back of the new shop. The Study Room is signposted here and on level 4 from this lift. Alternatively, from the main V&A cafe, you can access the same lift by heading through the new shop towards the Sackler Centre from the west end of the main cafe.

If you have any queries, please email us at

Detail of a drawing by Erté, as used on a poster advertising the Theatre Museum, Covent Garden, London. V&A S.5098-1995

About the author

Furniture, Textiles & Fashion
October 20, 2017

I am an Assistant Curator working on the development of the new Europe 1600-1800 Galleries. My interests are wide-ranging but subjects I have particularly enjoyed exploring for this project include:...

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