Musée d'Orsay: Stars and Sacred Monsters

Stars and Sacred Monsters

Louise Abbéma (1853-1927)
 Sarah Bernhardt
 1875
 Bronze medallion
 H. 2; D. 2; Diam. 16 cm
 Paris, Musée d'Orsay
 Dr Robert Le Masle bequest, 1974
Louise AbbémaSarah Bernhardt© DR
Stars are women who, through their art, transcend the limits of humanity and solve with ease the worst difficulties. Through them, virtuosity offers an image of perfection, it sets the star above common mortals, it is a proof of her divinity. A star can also be recognised by the excess of her talent and the multiplicity of her gifts. The purpose of this exhibition was to evoke five figures of legendary performers in the field of music at the turn of last century and to display pictures of their lives and careers. There were two divas, Adelina Patti (1843-1919) and Nellie Melba (1861-1931); the so-called "tenor of the century", Enrico Caruso (1873-1929); the Polish pianist and composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1911), performer of Chopin, Liszt, Schumann and Schubert. Sarah Bernhardt, also, cannot be overlooked when mentioning sacred monsters around 1900; her voice was part of the myth that surrounded her. These personalities, all well-known and celebrated in their time still command fascination.

Curator

Jean-Michel Nectoux, curator, Musée d'Orsay

19 December 1986 - 1 March 1987
Musée d'Orsay

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