+ ALL CITY OF PARIS MUSEUMS

Discover all 14 City of Paris museums

» Fermer
Georges Clairin - Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt
Armand Point - Peacock Casket
Camille Alaphilippe - Woman with Monkey
Aristide  Maillol - Seated female nude with her left hand on her head. Study for The Mediterranean
Louis-Robert Carrier-Belleuse - The Struggle for Life vase
Léon  Lhermitte - Les Halles
Fernand Pelez - The Death of Emperor Commodus
Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Ambroise Vollard in a Red Scarf
Jean Carriès - My Portrait
Emile Gallé - Two-handled vase
Georges-Henri Lemaire - Silence or Immortality
Charles-Alexandre Giron - Woman wearing gloves, also known as The Parisienne
Paul Sérusier - Tricoteuse au bas rose
Pierre-Auguste  Renoir - Portrait of Madame de Bonnières
Berthe Morisot - Jeune fille en décolleté - La fleur aux cheveux
Pierre Bonnard - Conversation à Arcachon
Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat - Dish : The judgment of Paris
Joseph-Marius Avy  - Bal blanc
Marie Constantine Bashkirtseff - Parisienne, Portrait of Irma
Maurice Denis - Female bathers at Perros-Guirec
Fernand Pelez - La Vachalcade
Alfred Sisley - The Church at Moret (Evening)
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen - Ball on the 14th of July
Edmond  Aman-Jean - Miss Ella Carmichaël
Raoul Larche - Buste d'enfant (portrait présumé de Marcel Lerolle)

Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt

Georges
Clairin
Paris, 1843 - Belle-Île-en-Mer, 1919
1876
Oil on canvas
250 x 200 cm

In the privacy of her home or in the theatre, Sarah Bernhardt made her life into a spectacle at the service of her talent.
To achieve this, she managed to inspire the admiring complicity of painters, sculptor, photographers and poster designers, who depicted the many facets of her role as a Diva. The painter Clairin, who was her lover and then a loyal friend, remained the official portraitist of his illustrious muse for fifty years.

At the 1876 Salon, all the press noticed the Portrait of Mlle Sarah Bernhardt, Member of the Comédie Française. The singular beauty of this rising star of the French theatre did not fail to move the Parisian critics, who either deplored or admired the slender, sinuous figure painted by Clairin. The 32-year-old actress was enjoying her first triumphs in the plays of Racine and Hugo at the time. As a sign of her social ascent, she had just moved into her new mansion near to Monceau Park, the bohemian splendour of which is depicted in this painting.

This large portrait showing the subject in a white satin dress, with a very studied nonchalance, was one of Sarah Bernhardt’s favourites and she kept it all her life. In 1876 it heralded the Art Nouveau aesthetic, with its sinuous lines, pearlescent tones and the magnetism of a feminine presence that is both seductive and disquieting. When his mother died, Maurice Bernhardt donated it to the Petit Palais, where it keeps the myth of this great actress alive.

Donor, testator or seller: 
Gift of Maurice Bernhardt, 1923
Inventory number: 
PPP00744
Inventory number : PPP00744
This work is not currently on display
Paris 1900
Roll your mouse over the exhibit to view detail.
Previous
8 / 55
Next