One of the most exciting parts about class was seeing that some topics that we discuss in class I had an in-depth knowledge of. I was genuinely excited to share my learning and knowledge and contribute to the discussion. The topics that seemed to interest me the most both in class and in my research was patronage. The aristocracy, from what I’ve come to discover, was very involved and per the thesis of one of my papers- too involved. The avant-garde music world in the 20s had a strange relationship with their wealthy fans/contributors. From Chanel, who donated money to revive the Ballet Russes (and then designed costumes for) and had a fairly direct impact on Stravinsky’s switch to neoclassicism to Rolf de Maré who created a ballet company with his personal money in order to create a “new genre” of ballet/spectacle to feature his lover/lead dancer/choreographer Jean Borlin. The over-intrusion of aristocrats in the everyday artistic decision-making is shocking and a little confusing to me. This also makes me question their labels. According to my research, de Maré did not only administrative work, but was helping backstage and attended rehearsals. What exactly was his job description? Aristocrats with a keen interest in the arts were drawn to the avant-garde music scene in Paris in the 1920s, but were they genuinely interested in the music, or just contributing to the popularity of the performances with their wealthy friends. This vein of study has definitely made me reconsider what the role of patron is, was, and will be.
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