Artist: Alphonse Mucha Czech (1860-1939)
Title: La Samaritaine - Sarah Bernhardt
Plate: PL. 166
Original lithograph from "Les Maitres de L'Affiche" series.
Printed by Imprimerie Chaix, Paris, 1899.
Presented in 16 x 20 in. acid free, archival museum mat, with framing labels. Ready to frame. Shipped boxed flat via FedEx.
Certificate of Authenticity.
Maitre Sheet Size: 11 3/8 in x 15 3/4 in 29 cm x 40 cm
Price: $2800.00 Rare
"La Samaritaine (Woman of Samaria) was a play with a biblical theme, written by Edmond Rostand for Miss. Bernhardt and introduced by her during the Easter season of 1897. She played Photina, a girl from the Samaria district of ancient Palestine, who become a supporter of Jesus and leads her whole tribe in converting to Christianity. For his poster, Mucha chose a scene from the second act in which the girl carries around a large water jar…Edmond Rostand was one of several playwrights who became admirers as well as lovers of Sarah Bernhardt during her career…To catch the mood of the play, Mucha put a mosaic with Hebrew lettering (Jehova) into his customary halo around Sarah's head. A seemingly random scattering of stars follows the convolutions of her hair, and stylized flowers adorn the corners"(Rennert/Weill p.118)
"Bernhardt's mother was a Jew. For the actress, this was both a blessing and a curse. In Biblical roles such as Photine ... she turned her Semitic exoticism into an alluring attribute. In the poster by Alphonse Mucha for the play, the Hebrew inscription 'JAHWEH' appears behind Bernhardt's head, while 'SHADDAI,' another Hebrew word for God, accompanies the inset picture. Playing to the public's appetite for beautiful Jewesses redeemed by their conversion to Christianity, Bernhardt in the role of the Samaritan woman adheres to a faith resembling pre-rabbinical Judaism. Almost Jewish, but not quite, Photine is a sort of surrogate for Bernhardt and her equivocal religious identity" (Bernhardt/Drama, p. 2).