Choose from the following zoom modes:
-or-

Select image to view:

Sarah Bernhardt Hunting with Hounds by Louise Abbema

Loading...
Lens Options
Size: S / M / L / XL

Zoom Level: I / II / III / VI

Advanced Settings

Sarah Bernhardt Hunting with Hounds by Louise Abbema

- Item No.

A portrait of the ravishing Sarah Bernhardt by Belle Époque artist Louise Abbéma

Key Features

  • An elegant Belle Époque painting depicting legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt by Louise Abbéma
  • Abbéma is particularly known for her portraits of the leading ladies of the high society of her era
  • Here, she captures the iconic actress preparing for the hunt with an impressionistic verve

Item Details

  • Width:
    33 1/8 Inches
  • Height:
    42 3/8 Inches
  • Period:
    1815-1918
  • Origin:
    France
  • Subject:
    Figurative
  • Artist:
    Abbéma, Louise
  Louise Abbéma
1858-1927 | French

Sarah Bernhardt Hunting with Hounds (Diane)

Signed "Louise Abbema" (upper left)
Oil on canvas

This painting was illustrated in the catalogue of the 1907 Salon of the Société des Artistes Français on page 43. A very similar portrait by Abbéma was shown at the Paris Salon of 1907 under the title Diane. A preparatory study was auctioned in 1992 under the title Portrait de Mlle Delettrez en habit de l'équipage du Prince de la Tour d'Auvergne.

This elegant Belle Époque portrait is the work of celebrated artist, sculptor and designer Louise Abbéma. Almost certainly depicting legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt, this magnificent oil on canvas captures the iconic actress in a stately riding habit before a hunt. One of the most successful women artists of her day, Abbéma was also an engraver, watercolorist, draughtswoman, illustrator and writer. She enjoyed an extremely close friendship with Bernhardt for many years, and eventually became the great thespian's official portraitist.

A painter in the Impressionist style, Abbéma is known for her allegorical paintings and genre scenes, and especially for her portraits of society ladies, interiors and a myriad of floral works. Born in Etampes, France, the great-granddaughter of actress Mlle. Contat and Comte Louis de Narbonne, she had an early introduction to the arts through her aristocratic family and was greatly influenced by painter Rosa Bonheur.  At a time when it was still unusual for a woman to be accepted into art academies, she became a pupil of Charles Chaplin in 1873, Carolus-Duran the following year, and, later, Jean-Jacques Henner.

In 1876, at the age of 18, Abbéma painted a portrait of Bernhardt, whom she met five years earlier, which was exhibited at the Paris Salon des Artistes Français of 1876 (at Carolus-Duran's suggestion, she had begun showing work in the Salon the previous year.) Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt was an immediate success for the young painter (only 22 at the time). She continued to exhibit regularly at the Salon until 1926, gaining an honorable recommendation in 1881 and a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1900. Soon after this triumph, Abbéma created a bronze medallion of Bernhardt (the only known sculpture by her), which she exhibited at the Salon in 1878. In turn Bernhardt, herself a sometime sculptor, exhibited a marble bust of Abbéma at the same Salon. Abbéma later made drawings of both sculptures.

Abbéma went on to pursue a brilliant career as a society portrait painter, depicting the celebrities of the age, her former teachers, Charles Garnier, architect of the Paris Opéra, Ferdinand de Lesseps, and Don Pedro the Emperor of Brazil, among many others. One of her most esteemed works is the painting Déjeuner dans la serre, depicting a sumptuous lunch given by Mlle. Bernhardt, which fully displays her Impressionist affinities. Many of her works also showed the influence of Chinese and Japanese painters, as well as contemporary masters such as Édouard Manet.

Particularly known for her portraits of the leading ladies of the high society of her era, Abbéma also painted allegorical figures and many decorative murals for the town halls of the 7th, 10th and 20th arrondissements of Paris, the Hôtel de Ville, the Musée d'Armée, the French National Horticultural Society, the former Sarah Bernhardt Theatre and the palace of the governor of Dakar, Senegal. She was even designated an Official Painter of the Third Republic, and also exhibited work in the Women's Building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. She worked for several art magazines, including the journals Gazette des Beaux-Arts and L'Art, and illustrated Rene Maizeroy's La Mer.

She was made a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur in 1906. 

Circa 1897

Canvas: 33 1/2" high x 24" wide
Frame: 42 3/8" high x 33 1/8" wide

Artist's Museums:
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Musée de Pau, France

Reference:
Dictionary of Artists, Vol. 1, 2006, E. Benezit
Painting by William Bouguereau

Collecting 19th Century Art

Collecting 19th Century Art
Chances are good that the wonderful landscape your parents bought 30 years ago to hang over the mantel wasn't purchased as an investment. Chances are even better that this same painting, if painted by a 19th-century artist of even reasonable note, has greatly increased in value.
Prior to the 1960s, late 19th-century artists like John William Godward, William Bouguereau and John Atkinson Grimshaw were, for the most part, names only the most studied 19th-century art scholars might recognize. It wasn't until these same scholars and museum curators began to truly recognize and appreciate these talents, along with scores of other great 19th-century painters, that the works hailing from this century really came into their own.
With that recognition has come a tremendous boon in the prices for quality 19th-century art. For instance, in 1977, the highest recorded price for a Bouguereau painting was $17,000. Just 23 years later, that same artist would achieve a hammer price of $3,526,000, placing him among a group of late 19th-century artists whose works regularly bring prices near or over the million-dollar mark.
Despite these incredible prices, much of the attraction of 19th-century art is that there are still so many extraordinary works out there to be had that won’t break the bank. Impressionist masterpieces or works by the Old Masters may be out of reach for most collectors, but those looking for superb paintings by respected artists of almost any genre won't be disappointed with the magnificent and diverse works created during the 19th century, particularly those painted in the latter half of the period. Like most worthwhile pursuits, success in building a fine 19th-century art collection comes with effort and diligence. Look at any great collection and it becomes evident that the key ingredients are love and understanding of the art.
Doing Your Homework
The best piece of advice is to do you homework. Almost every great collection of art resulted from a collaborative effort that began with careful research. Museums, galleries, auction houses, art publications and other collectors are all valuable sources of information. Develop relationships with good dealers and other experts who specialize in 19th-century art. Pick one or two areas of interest and study, using all of the tools available. Museums, galleries, auction houses, universities and the Internet can provide a wealth of both scholarly and subjective information, including insight into pricing and popularity of artists and their work. These efforts will not go unrewarded. Thorough research not only gives the collector a better grasp of the actual works, but it allows for the formulation of personal opinions and the refinement of individual taste.
Bill Rau, President and CEO of M.S. Rau Antiques, feels that by far, the most valuable piece of advice for those interested in art collecting, of any type, is to view similar works firsthand. "The more you expose yourself to the various artists of the period, the better you can recognize their quality and beauty," explains Rau. "The more exposure a collector has to the genre, the more acute their taste and eye will become. It is by studying the masterpieces in person that one can truly attain an appreciation and understanding of 19th-century art."
Value & Cost
Collecting 19th-century paintings involves an investment of both time and money. But keep in mind that financial gain should not be the motivation for collecting art. How much a collector can afford naturally affects the types of artwork collected, but today's art market lends itself to great flexibility in terms of price range. Do not become driven by the search for bargains which may lead to the acquisition of mediocre paintings. Art is not immune to fluctuations in the economy and over the long haul, it's  much better to own a finer quality painting that costs a bit more than to have a collection full of bargain basement finds. Core aspects such as artist, subject, paint quality, light and form and condition all effect the value of a painting and should be the foundation of any collection.
"Collecting art is a very personal endeavor," explains Rau. "Don't throw good business sense out of the window, but do choose your art using your head and your heart first and then your pocketbook. You'll be happier in the long run and you will have a much finer collection." Of course, that's the beauty of 19th-century paintings. Many of the finest works remain undervalued. For instance, while the price tag on a superior Alfred de Breanski landscape may not be inconsequential, the value of such a work by one of the most respected landscape painters of that period, remains incredible. Of course, the first step in finding value in 19th-century paintings is being able to recognize quality and that, again, boils down to research and diligence. While a painting must appeal on the most basic aesthetic level, there are a few considerations that must be addressed before any deals are struck. Once a painting has been selected-step back and look at condition, provenance and authenticity.
Condition & Quality
Whenever purchasing a piece of art, especially those created decades ago, it is important to keep a close eye out for retouches or damage caused by mishandling or unprofessional restoration techniques.
Of course, restoration work, if done properly, does not necessarily decrease the value of a fine painting, in fact, it is considered part of proper care and maintenance. However, collectors should be cautious of pieces that may have been drastically "overdone" due to outdated techniques practiced in the early part of the 20th century. These early restoration methods tended to be overly aggressive and are no longer considered acceptable. Issues such as these can be avoided with the advice of a professional restorer or art dealer. Don't be afraid to insist that a painting be checked out by a professional restorer prior to purchase.
Authenticity
The resurgence in interest of 19th-century art has also brought with it issues that any collector must address, most notably forgeries. Aggressive authentication is standard practice when seeking out the works of Van Gogh or Rembrandt, making it far more difficult to pass off forgeries.
However, the paintings of the 19th century present a much more enticing venue for those intent on deception. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to work with a reputable dealer. Any good dealer, auction house or gallery should have no trouble providing the necessary information to authenticate or evaluate a 19th-century painting.
Be cautious if there is no signature on the painting, but not unduly so. An unsigned painting does not automatically signal a forgery or make a painting any less authentic. Often students copied the styles and techniques of the master artist and some masters even tried to imitate their contemporaries.
Once again, the failsafe key to avoiding confusion is research and a great understanding of the particular artist's style, subject matter and technique. The opportunities for collecting solid 19th-century paintings at reasonable prices remain abundant in today's market. A collector, armed with a certain degree of knowledge and even greater enthusiasm, can go a long way in assembling a collection worthy of the effort. If recent history is any indication, fine artworks from this century should continue to post healthy gains. And, while monetary appreciation can in no way be guaranteed, the potential for upward gains remains favorable.
"Art collecting is a serious and highly rewarding journey that should be taken in stride and with a degree of diligence. But along this sometimes bumpy road, keep in mind that the true nature of art is not so much about dollars and cents but more importantly its power to inspire, give joy, and motivate an appreciation for the world around you," Rau concludes. "And at the end of the day, a beautiful work of art can be enjoyed on a more personal level every single day whether the market happens to be up or down–you can't say that about too many stock certificates." Read More »

Request More Information
Close [X]
Request a Phone Call
Add to my Collection Email to a Friend

Share this item with your spouse, your decorator or a fellow collector...you can even send it to several email addresses at once. Fill out this form and we'll send them a link to this item.

Close [X]

You are currently not logged in. Please Sign In to create a collection or add items to your existing collection(s).

If you do not have an account, please Register and enjoy benefits immediately.


Close [X]
Price: $64,500
Add to my Bag

To order by phone or for more info call
1-888-711-8084