22 Facts About Lincoln Kirstein


Lincoln Edward Kirstein was an American writer, impresario, art connoisseur, philanthropist, and cultural figure in New York City, noted especially as co-founder of the New York City Ballet.


Lincoln Kirstein developed and sustained the company with his organizing ability and fundraising for more than four decades, serving as the company's general director from 1946 to 1989.


Lincoln Kirstein's brother was George Kirstein, his sister was Mina Kirstein and his paternal grandparents were Jeanette and Edward Kirstein, a successful Rochester clothing manufacturer who ran E Kirstein and Sons, Company.


Lincoln Kirstein grew up in a wealthy, Jewish, Bostonian family and attended the private Berkshire School, along with George Platt Lynes, graduating in 1926.


Lincoln Kirstein then attended Harvard, the alma mater of his father, vice-president of Filene's Department Store, graduating in 1930.


In 1927, while an undergraduate at Harvard, Kirstein was frustrated that the literary magazine The Harvard Advocate would not invite him to join its editorial board despite his having published several well-regarded pieces in the magazine.


The publication gained prominence in the artistic world and ran until 1934 when Lincoln Kirstein decided to focus his energy and resources on the career of George Balanchine and the development of the School of American Ballet.

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Lincoln Kirstein became determined to bring Balanchine to the United States.


Lincoln Kirstein enlisted in 1943, and before going overseas, he started working on a project gathering and documenting soldier art.


Lincoln Kirstein eventually developed this as the exhibit and book Artists Under Fire.


In January 1945, Lincoln Kirstein was promoted to private first class in Patton's Third Army, and his unit moved to Germany.


Lincoln Kirstein was involved with retrieving artworks around Munich and from the salt mines at Altaussee.


In 1946, Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein founded the Ballet Society, which was renamed the New York City Ballet in 1948.


Lincoln Kirstein wrote about other subjects that interested him, including Hollywood stars, the cats in fairy tales, tap dancers, and Buddhist temples.


Lincoln Kirstein had longer affairs with dancer Pete Martinez and artist Dan Maloney.


Lincoln Kirstein sometimes had to be constrained in a straitjacket for weeks at a psychiatric hospital.


Lincoln Kirstein's illness did not generally affect his professional creativity until the end of his life.


Lincoln Kirstein helped organize a 1959 American tour for musicians and dancers from the Japanese Imperial Household Agency.


Kirstein commissioned and helped to fund the physical home of the New York City Ballet: the New York State Theater building at Lincoln Center, designed in 1964 by architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee.


Lincoln Kirstein served as the general director of the ballet company from 1948 to 1989.


Lincoln Kirstein was among the public figures at the core of the effort to save Olana, the home of Frederic Edwin Church, before it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965 and subsequently became a New York State Historic Site.


Lincoln Kirstein was the primary patron of the artist Paul Cadmus, Fidelma's brother, buying many of his paintings and subsidizing his living expenses.