Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Funerary Portrait of Jacques Damala

Sarah Bernhardt (French, Paris 1844–1923 Paris)
ca. 1889
French, Paris
Overall (wt confirmed): 11 x 18 1/8 x 12 1/4 in., 97lb. (27.9 x 46 x 31.1 cm, 43.9989kg)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Assunta Sommella Peluso, Ignazio Peluso, Ada Peluso and Romano I. Peluso Gift, 2009
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 556
The great tragic actress, Sarah Bernhardt, was also a gifted sculptor. She carved this haunting memorial to her husband, the actor Jacques Damala (1855–1889), shortly after he had died of a drug overdose. Bernhardt envisions Damala as if on his deathbed, his youthful features captured in sleep. Yet the sheet covering him also is a winding shroud and the cut flowers wilt upon a marble slab that is reminiscent of a tomb.
Signature: Signed on the right side of plinth, in script: Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt (until d. 1923) ; [ Bernhardt sale, Galerie Georges Petit , Paris, June 11–13, 1923, lot 222 ] ; [ David and Constance Yates , New York, until 2009; sold to MMA ]
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