Vers L'Idéal, Jeunes Filles Dansant

PhotographerFrederick Boissonnas



AtelierVerlagsanstalt F. Bruckmann A.-G. (Munich)


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Allegorical, Artists, Dance, Fields, Meadows, Figure Study, Supports


Image Dimensions: 21.2 x 29.2 cm
Support Dimensions: 26.3 x 36.6 cm (uncut)

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Frédéric Boissonnas took this photograph around 1911 or earlier, when it was titled Vers L’Idéal, Jeunes Filles Dansant  “Towards the Ideal, Young Girls Dancing”  and exhibited as part of the London Salon of Photography, where it was shown cropped to the central figures. (1.) It was additionally reproduced as a full halftone in the October 16, 1911 issue of the English journal The Amateur Photographer and Photographic News that year. (p. 389) The dancers were enrolled in a new school founded in 1910 by the Swiss composer, musician and music educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, (1865-1950) which taught the Dalcroze Method of music pedagogy in Hellerau, Germany, now part of Dresden.  


“The Dalcroze Method involves teaching musical concepts through movement. A variety of movement analogues are used for musical concepts, to develop an integrated and natural feel for musical expression. Turning the body into a well-tuned musical instrument, Dalcroze felt, was the best path to generating a solid, vibrant musical foundation. The Dalcroze Method consists of three equally-important elements: eurhythmics, solfège, and improvisation.” (2.)


Because of World War I, the school closed in 1914. The date of this oversized hand-pulled plate photogravure by Bruckmann of Germany was most likely produced between 1913-1920. Printed on very heavy plate paper, this image was also printed as a silver-gelatin photograph in a cropped version, emphasizing the four airborne dancers. (3.)
The Boissonnas dance photographs from the Dalcroze school in Hellerau were used in subsequent books written by Jaques-Dalcroze, including a volume translated into Italian:  Rhythm - Music Education- published in 1925. The book used the cropped version of this photograph as the main dust jacket illustration. (4.)



Engraved plate notations: unknown musical bar centered within margin at foot of plate.
upper right corner: Photographie Fred. Boissonas & Cie., Genf, Schweiz
lower right corner: Hellerau
lower left corner: Dalcroze - Schule
upper left corner: Photogravure  Bruckmann


1.  In 1911, The London Salon of Photography was held at the Galleries of the Royal Water Colour Society, 5a Pall Mall East, London, S.W., Sept. 9th to Oct. 21st.

2. Wikipedia website entry for Dalcroze accessed 2011.
3. Palais Dorotheum: Photography: 30.03.2010: Lot No. 48: Fred Boissonas (Geneva 1858-1946) Ella Ilbak, Dancer, circa 1915, vintage print, gelatine-silver, 20,4 x 15,9 cm , mounted on the original card, the card signed in pencil, 33,4 x 26 cm
4. Dustjacket: from: E. Jaques-Dalcroze: Ritmo - Musica Educazione: Quaranta Tavole Illustrative Ed Un Supplemento Musicale: Edited by Ulrico Hoepli: Milan: 1925

Vers L'Idéal, Jeunes Filles Dansant