by Nathalie Azoulai
Too Jewish to make good business, Léon changed his name, Rosenberg, into Bakst, his mother’s maiden name when he was 23, in 1889. As a child, he used to visit his grandfather every Saturday who happened to be an exceptional tailor and who probably taught his grandson how to draw and design costumes.
From 1909 to 1922, he worked in Sergei Diaghilev’s circle and designed many costumes for the Ballets Russes.
About Marc Chagall who was one of his students in Saint Petersburg at Zvantseva's school, he said that he was his favourite : when told to do something, he would listen carefully, but then he would take his paint and his brushes and do something completely different from what he was asked. Like master like disciple.