The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt

A cabinet portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, seen here en civil.

A shameless self-publicist throughout her long career, Sarah Bernard was photographed time and again by all the best photographers in the world, invariably demanding to be paid up front, rather than accepting a percentage of the profits. At the same time, of course, she was wielding photography to foster her fame, skilfully manipulating her public image. As famous a personality as she was an actress, the public were avid for details of her temper tantrums and her violent feuds, not to mention her many love affairs. Her patriotism made a French national emblem. When she died in the arms of he only child Maurice on March 26, 1923, her entire country was grief-stricken.

Photographed by William and Daniel Downey of London and Newcastle.

Code: 124431
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