Sarah Bernhardt , legendary actress will be honored in Paris in 2023 with an exhibition dedicated to her at the Petit Palais.

Lesser known aspects of her life

An emblematic figure at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the « Divine » Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923), actress as much as artist, is the subject of a quite exceptional exhibition at the Petit Palais, the museum holding the one of her finest portraits painted by her friend Georges Clairin as well as several sculptures she made herself. The route of the exhibition will trace through more than 400 works the life and career of this « sacred monster », a term coined for her by Jean Cocteau and will also present lesser known aspects of her life such as her activity as a painter and writer but above all a sculptress.

Copyright Petit Palais de Paris

A « golden » voice

A mythical interpreter of the greatest playwrights such as Racine, Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Edmond Rostand, she continues to triumph on stages around the world. The exhibition will evoke her greatest roles thanks to the presentation of her stage costumes, photographs, paintings, posters… Her « golden voice » and her slender silhouette, atypical at the time, fascinate the public as much than the artistic and literary world which devotes a real cult to him. She is the friend of painters like Gustave Doré, Georges Clairin, Louise Abbéma, Alphonse Mucha but also writers like Victor Hugo, Victorien Sardou or Sacha Guitry and musicians such as Reynaldo Hahn.

A real star before her time

Multiple objects that belonged to her will illustrate the « intimate Sarah », her interior, her wardrobe, and will recall her taste for eccentricities and oddities. Of an indomitable character, Sarah Bernhardt can be considered a real star before her time, always on the lookout for novelties, using her image for her own publicity. A chapter of the exhibition will also be dedicated to her tours around the world. When she died in 1923, at the age of 79, she had long since become a real star and the craze she was the subject of prefigured the cult enjoyed by the great stars of 20th century cinema.

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