Sarah Bernhardt, (1844-1923), was an emblematic figure who spanned the 19th and 20th centuries. The “Divine Sarah”, who was an artist as well as an actress, takes center stage at the Petit Palais in an exceptional exhibition to mark the centenary of her death.
And the woman created the star
14 April 2023 to 27 August 2023
The museum holds important collections of works linked to the actress, including the spectacular portrait of her that was painted in 1876 by her friend Georges Clairin and donated by her son Maurice.
With over four hundred works, the exhibition traces the life and theatrical career of this “sacred monster”, as Jean Cocteau dubbed her. A legendary performer of the greatest roles from Racine, Shakespeare, Edmond Rostand and Alexandre Dumas fils, among others, Sarah Bernhardt went from triumph to triumph in theaters all over the world.
The exhibition evokes her greatest roles through the costumes she wore on stage, photographs, paintings, posters and other memorabilia. Her “golden voice” and her tall, slender figure – unusual in those days – held the public in thrall, as well as the artistic and literary world, who simply venerated her. She was the friend of painters such as Gustave Doré, Georges Clairin, Louise Abbéma, and Alphonse Mucha, but also of writers like Victor Hugo, Victorien Sardou and Sacha Guitry, as well as musicians and composers like Reynaldo Hahn. She was an artist herself, and an entire section of the exhibition focuses on this lesser-known aspect of her life.