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Sarah Bernhardt Chimera Self-Portrait Bronze Sculpture

$225,000

This French Art Nouveau patinated bronze sculpture by Sarah Bernhardt is known to be a self-portrait of the artist herself, personified as a chimera. Among the various gifts of Sarah Bernhardt was her skill at sculpting, which she turned to self-portraiture in this intriguing rebus that reveals the great actress's personality. She presents her sensitive, intelligent face atop the body of a winged lion, exposing that beneath her theatrical disguises was a creature of strength and courage. On the lion's shoulders are affixed theater masks, not as one might expect of tragedy and comedy, but both male, both apparently expressing awe and astonishment.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Artist: Sarah Bernhardt
Circa: 1880
Dimensions: 15" height, 13.5" width, 13" depth
Materials: Patinated bronze
Signed: ''Sarah Bernhardt 1880'' 
Literature: Example of sculpture pictured in Dynamic Beauty: Sculpture of Art Nouveau Paris, by Macklowe Gallery, The Studley Press, 2011, p. 55
Exhibition History: Sculpture has been accessioned into the permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Art Boston, The Virginia Museum of Fine Art, and the Princeton Museum; Another sculpture (similar) given by the artist to King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, remains in the Royal Collection Trust

Declaring that, "all the best parts belong to men," Sarah Bernhardt financed classic productions where she cast herself as hero, with Hamlet and Werther among her most acclaimed roles. An imaginative and dazzling performer, and a pioneer of female social freedom, Bernhardt's self-portrait provides insight into the soul of an artist at the forefront of women's social transformation.
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