Artist: Paul Berthon French (1872-1934)
Title: Woman with Flowers (possibly Sarah Bernhardt)
Plate: SPPL. 14
Original lithograph from "Les Maitres de L'Affiche" series.
Printed by Imprimerie Chaix, Paris, 1900.
Presented in 16 x 20 in. acid free, archival museum mat, with framing labels. Ready to frame. Shipped boxed flat.
Certificate of Authenticity.
Maitre Sheet Size: 11 3/8 in x 15 3/4 in 29 cm x 40 cm
Nicknamed "The Divine Sarah" by the legendary playwright, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt was the undisputed queen of French romantic and classical tragedy." Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923). One of the theater's greatest talents, French actress Sarah Bernhardt was also one of its most colorful personalities. Few performers ever moved audiences as Bernhardt did, or succeeded in such a wide variety of roles. None provoked more controversy. This exceedingly slender woman with a strikingly attractive face traveled with, and sometimes slept in, a coffin lined with letters from her innumerable lovers. And her entourage often included a veritable menagerie of dogs, cats, birds, turtles, monkeys, leopards, lions, and alligators. Men fought duels to the death for her, priests exhorted parishioners to shun her, and at least one woman killed herself because she couldn't get a ticket to a Bernhardt performance. Critic Jules Lemaitre once said of Bernhardt, "She could enter a convent, discover the North Pole, have herself inoculated with rabies, assassinate an emperor or marry a Negro king without astonishing me." (www.trivia-library.com)
An original design by Berthon, of who's work Laura Gold writes "Of all the posterists who designed decorative panels, Berthon was perhaps the best qualified to do a series on flowers personified as women since his women are so flower-like, delicate creatures, so light as to be nearly ethereal, seen in the softest focus and tinged with the gentlest hues…the woman a shy, soulful spirit passing by in our dreams" (Gold p.137) Although not directly from his flower series, the format is very much similar, and the effect here equally enchanting.
Subscribers to the Maitre de l'Affiche series received four special plates annually. These premium original lithographs, each an original design, were created specifically for this series, and are not seen in any other format, unlike the regular plates, which are reduced versions of larger posters.
We are most fortunate to have had the inclusion of the Special Plates (Sp), as each one is a true example of the artist's creativity and skill. The artist is unencumbered with a product or service to advertise, and can express himself more freely, demonstrating his drawing ability, the essence of graphic art, with only one or two colours. For many collectors these unique Special Plates are more desirable than any of the regular plates.