Sarah Bernhardt

The Art of High Drama

Carol Ockman and Kenneth E. Silver; With contributions by Janis Bergman-Carton, Karen Levitov, and Suzanne Schwarz Zuber

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $50.00
Our shopping cart only supports Mozilla Firefox. Please ensure you're using that browser before attempting to purchase.

A beautifully illustrated celebration of the life, art, and style of “the Divine Sarah”

Sarah Bernhardt (1844–1923) was an extraordinary performer, so much so that her name became synonymous with acting. Yet her importance extended beyond the world of theater—she was an icon of French nationalism, a target of both admiration and scorn, an artist and sculptor, and a trendsetting avatar of style. This fascinating book examines the many sides and talents of Bernhardt, from her beginnings at the Comédie Française through her international stardom. Wonderfully illustrated, the book features an unprecedented collection of images relating to Bernhardt’s life, including paintings, posters, photographs, costumes, jewelry, stage designs, self-portraits, and sculptures.

Bernhardt orchestrated a brilliant sixty-year career as an actress and entrepreneur, becoming a revered patriotic figure in her native France and a beloved star in America, where she undertook nine successful tours. Along the way she sat for the most fashionable artists of her time, became the most photographed woman in the world, and attached her name to everything from hair curlers to liqueurs. This book brings the incredible Sarah Bernhardt to life for contemporary readers and highlights her historical significance and integral place in modern culture.

Featured illustrations include:

• Art Nouveau posters by Alphonse Mucha depicting Bernhardt in her most famous roles

• Designer costumes, tunics, tiaras, and jewelry

• A human skull, a gift from Victor Hugo

• Portraits of the actress by Jean Cocteau, Félix Nadar, Andy Warhol, and others

Carol Ockman is professor in the Art Department of Williams College and author of Ingres’s Eroticized Bodies: Retracing the Serpentine Line, published by Yale University Press. Kenneth E. Silver is professor in the Fine Arts Department of New York University. Janis Bergman-Carton is professor of art history at Southern Methodist University and author of The Woman of Ideas in French Art, 1830–1848, published by Yale University Press. Karen Levitov is assistant curator and Suzanne Schwarz Zuber is project assistant, both at The Jewish Museum.


The Jewish Museum, New York (December 2, 2005 – April 2, 2006)

"A fine survey of Bernhardt's place within theater history, with nearly 200 color and black-and-white quality reproductions."—Choice

"Delightfully illustrated with paintings, photographs, posters, costumes, jewelry, stage designs and more, this highly readable book . . . offers an engrossing account of Bernhardt's life and career."—France

"[A] sumptuous book"—Jewish Chronicle

“A lavish catalog. . . . Highly insightful essays ponder Bernhardt as celebrity; national icon; entrepreneur; and creator, collector, and subject of decorative arts. . . . This is a fascinating look at both the actress and the woman. . . . Highly recommended for all theater and biography collections.”—Library Journal

"A marvelous book about the famous actress' life and career. . . . The authors explore the Divine Sarah's fascinating life and career very effectively and the illustrations . . . in the book are marvelous. . . . Will interest anyone who enjoys reading about popular culture of the pre-World War I period."—Richard Weigel, New York Daily News

"The volume is not only an abundantly illustrated art book, but a highly readable one as well. . . . It's a wealth of material, fascinating in and of itself, all of it splendidly reproduced."—Jewish Exponent

Finalist for the George Freedley Memorial Award sponsored by the Theatre Library Association
ISBN: 9780300109191
Publication Date: December 2, 2005
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Jewish Museum, New York
232 pages, 8 3/4 x 10 1/2
73 b/w + 122 color illus.

The Jewish Identity Project

New American Photography

Susan Chevlowe; With contributions by Joanna Lindenbaum and

View details
Writing a Modern Jewish History

Essays in Honor of Salo W. Baron

Edited by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett with essays by Arth

View details
Paris Portraits

Artists, Friends, and Lovers

Kenneth E. Silver

View details
Alias Man Ray

Mason Klein; with contributions by George Baker, Merry L.

View details
Roberto Burle Marx

Brazilian Modernist

Jens Hoffmann and Claudia J. Nahson

View details