Bronze, ivory, enamel, metal
Property of Shai Bandmann & Ronald Ooi
Born in 1844, Sarah Bernhardt was a world-famous tragedian who enjoyed huge success on the stage between the 1880s and 1920s. She was director of the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris from 1893 to 1899, and Victor Hugo dubbed her "the Golden Voice". On 9 December 1896, the theatre paid tribute to this exceptional actress by staging a « Sarah Bernhardt Day »: a sumptuous dinner at the Grand Hôtel de Paris, followed by a gala at the theatre. The artists, management and staff of the theatre presented her with this bronze bust during the celebrations.
Numerous sculptors have produced busts of Sarah Bernhardt, but this particular one by René Lalique shows how versatile an artist he was, venturing beyond the jewellery and glass creations for which he is most famous.
René Lalique was also commissioned to produce a series of silver medals engraved with Sarah Bernhardt's silhouette, as a commemorative gift for the theatre's 500 guests.
By the way: The bust will be on show at the Lalique Museum from 1 February to 15 March 2020 during the forthcoming exhibition, Un Amour de Lalique - The Magic of (Your) Memories.