Born Lev Samoilovich Rosenberg. Student at the Academy of St. Petersburg. Began calling himself Léon Bakst (mother’s maiden name), in the late 1890s. Established himself in Moscow and adhered to the Russian academic tradition, taking his subjects from popular life. However, little by little he began to stray from the traditional, profoundly influenced by modern French art. A proponent of the new style in Russia, he founded the group "Mir Iskousstva" ("Artistic World"), but soon left Moscow and St. Petersburg for Paris (1893). Played a considerable role during the years preceding World War I as a costume decorator and designer for the famous Russian ballets directed by Serge de Diaghileff. A bold colorist, possessing a heightened sense of an art in service to rhythm and subject to variations in lighting, Bakst realized a bold and pleasing fusion of the elements of Russian popular art and the values of modern French art, influenced notably by Aubrey Beardsley, as well as by Greek vase painting and the Fauvism of Henri Matisse. Established legal residence in Paris in 1912.