Yvette Guilbert, in "Columbine a Pierrot", 1894 (printed 1950)

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Yvette Guilbert (1867-1944) carefully cultivated a style which went against the prevailing trend of buxom, bawdy cabaret singers. She had a thin and willowy elegance which she accented by wearing tiny-waisted dresses and long black gloves. In her memoirs Guilbert wrote, "I was looking for an impression of extreme simplicity...I wanted above all to appear highly distinguished." This dignified look was an important part of her act. Toulouse-Lautrec captured the way Guilbert would pause during her song, cocking her head to one side and placing her thumb to her mouth in mock modesty as she hesitated over her next line. This would signal to the audience that they were to shout out her subsequent line, which was usually the more witty, but lewd, portion of the song.

Yvette Guilbert, in "Columbine a Pierrot"
Artist Life
Accession Number
Bruce B. Dayton, Wayzata, Minn.; given to MIA, 1982.
Catalogue Raisonne
LD 96; A 103; A + W 94 iv/iv
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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