Francis Picabia, a collaborator on the 1924 ballet Relâche, illustrated the cover of Erik Satie's piano score with an encounter that appears to be set somewhere above the clouds. With the growth of the Dada movement after the First World War, the arts caught up with Satie’s anarchic spirit of play. Relâche is the word posted outside a theater when a performance is canceled, so the ballet's title suggests a gap where something substantial was expected. Instead of a clearly defined plot or characters, the premiere performance offered the audience a nonsensical array of half-dressed dancers, balloons, an absurd film between acts, and music adapted willy-nilly from ribald popular and military songs.
Erik Satie (1866–1925), Relâche; arr. piano, Paris: Rouart, Lerolle & Cie., , first edition. James Fuld Music Collection, 2008.