How to Become a Mass-Media Star in the 19th Century: Sarah Bernhardt and the Belle Époque
Carol Ockman, Ph.D., Robert Sterling Clark Professor of Art History, Williams College
How did the daughter and niece of courtesans, a Jewish woman, an unwed mother purportedly promiscuous with both sexes, and an eventual amputee, come to be known as “the greatest actress of the Western world”? Charting her 60-year career, this talk focuses on Bernhardt’s remarkable talent for self-promotion at the dawn of mass culture, including her self-presentation, her recourse to the artistic talents of Art Nouveau poster wizard Alphonse Mucha and celebrity photographer Félix Nadar, together with well-publicized eccentricities—a menagerie, an excursion in a hot air balloon, and a resident skeleton and coffin at home.
This event is presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Paris 1900: City of Entertainment.Purchase tickets
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