We are grateful to Mr Sam Clapp for authenticating this work
Doré's relationship with Sarah Bernhardt was both intimate and professional. He did a number of portraits of her in different media. This portrait, until recently unknown, shows the ruffled neckpiece, very slightly hooked nose, small mouth, heavy eybrows and thick wavy hair that featured in his more famous work, Marchandes de violettes.
Doré is said to have taught Sarah Bernhardt to sculpt. Her first exhibition was in 1874 and in 1878 she and Doré were commissioned by Charles Garnier, architect of the Paris Opera, to sculpt a large work, La Danse and Le Chant for the facade of the theatre in Monte-Carlo.