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Paul-François Berthoud Bronze Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt


This gilt and patinated bronze French Art Nouveau sculpture portrait depicts famed actress Sarah Bernhardt, by Paul-François Berthoud. Berhnardt, one of the most important actresses of her day, is frozen, here, in a stance and expression of great beauty, strength, and allure. As her flowing hair gently frames her face, a bold sash daringly decorates her chest; her eyes are cast downward, as though to the audience below her in the pit of one of her acclaimed performances.


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  • Curator's Notes

Item #: S-17545
Artist: Paul-François Berthoud
Circa: 1900
Dimensions: 23" height, 20" width, 13" depth (sculpture only); 66" height (sculpture with pedestal)
Materials: Bronze, Marble
Signed: "PF Berthoud," stamped with the Louchet foundry mark
Exhibition History: Slightly different portrait sculpture of Sarah Bernhardt, also by Paul-François Berthoud, is in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay

Sarah Bernhardt was arguably the single-most important dramatic actress of the 19th century. As she is portrayed here with a jeweled sash and flowing hair, it no doubt is a reference to her role as Gismonda in the play by the same name from Victorien Sardou.