Aug 10, 2009

Sarah Bernhardt Reclining on a Divan, Reading

Sarah Bernhardt Reclining on a Divan, Reading

c. 1885–1890

Georges-Jules-Victor Clairin

(French, 1843–1919)

Graphite with lead white heightening

Support: Pink wove paper

Sheet: 24.3 x 38.8 cm (9 9/16 x 15 1/4 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2009.118



Perhaps the most famous actress in the history of the theater, Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) was one of the most magnetic personalities of her time and was known by her adoring fans as "the Divine Sarah." Jules Clairin was the favored portraitist of the actress, and depicted her in various roles in more than 100 paintings. In this intimate drawing, the international idol is depicted off stage, probably in her exotically decorated Parisian atelier that overflowed with lush palms, patterned carpets, fringed throws, and Asian bibelots. Quiet in her reverie, the reclining Bernhardt is supported by a tiger skin, the drama of her life momentarily voiced by the roaring animal.

See also
DR - French
Type of artwork: 

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