Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev was an art critic and patron, as well as a choreographer and ballet impresario, who founded the Ballets Russes. .
He was a great admirer of Whistler's work and promoted it in Russia. In 1899 Diaghilev organised the 1st World of Art Exhibition in St Petersburg, for which he attempted to borrow a number of Whistler's works, owned by John James Cowan, William Burrell and Walford Graham Robertson (GUW #00840).
MacDonald, Margaret F., 'James McNeill Whistler', in: Andreeva, Galina and Margaret F. MacDonald (eds), Whistler and Russia, Tretyakow Gallery, Moscow, 2006, pp. 16-57 . Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russes , 1909 - 1929, Victoria and Albert Museum, exhibition catalogue, 2010; Diaghilev & the Ballets Russes, V&A website