26 Posters - Mistinguett, (5 April 1875 – 5 January 1956) the best-paid female entertainer in the world. With Footnotes
Mistinguett / L'Excentrique. 1898
Artist: FERNAND GARRIC Size: 33 1/4 x 48 3/8 in./84.4 x 123 cm Imp. Delanchy, Paris Garric created a handful of posters for Mistinguett at the beginning of her career, this being the most wildly fantastical. The focus is her frilled petticoats and soon-to-be-iconic legs, while a cameo of her pre-blonde portrait sits in the lower left.
Dimensions: 33 1/4 x 48 3/8 in./84.4 x 123 cm
Mistinguett (5 April 1875 – 5 January 1956) was a French actress and singer, whose birth name was Jeanne Florentine Bourgeois. The daughter of Antoine Bourgeois, a 30-year-old day-laborer, and Jeannette Debrée, a 21-year-old seamstress, Jeanne Bourgeois was born at 5 Rue du Chemin-de-Fer, in Enghien-les-Bains, Val-d'Oise, Île-de-France, France. The family moved to Soisy-sous-Montmorency where she spent her childhood; her parents later worked as mattress-makers.
Mistinguett and Max Dearly. ca. 1909
Artist: ADRIEN BARRÈRE (1877-1931) Size: 46 3/4 x 62 5/8 in./118.7 x 159.2 cm Starting in 1909, Mistinguett teamed up with veteran performer Max Dearly to perform the Apache. The dance, which he supposedly invented the year prior, takes its name from the French slang word for underground street culture, and is an extraordinarily dramatic, frequently violent dance meant to represent a conversation between a hooker and her pimp. This is the before-letters version of the design.
Dimensions: 46 3/4 x 62 5/8 in./118.7 x 159.2 cm
At an early age Bourgeois aspired to be an entertainer. She began as a flower seller in a restaurant in her hometown, singing popular ballads as she sold blossoms. After taking classes in theatre and singing, she began her career as an entertainer in 1885. One day on the train to Paris for a violin lesson, she met Saint-Marcel, who directed the revue at the Casino de Paris. He engaged her first as a stage-hand, and here she began to pursue her goal to become an entertainer, experimenting with various stage-names, being successively Miss Helyett, Miss Tinguette, Mistinguette and, finally, Mistinguett.
Artist: DANIEL DE LOSQUES (David Thoroude, 1880-1915) Size: 41 x 76 7/8 in./104 x 195.4 cm Imp. H. Chachoin, Paris An early, rather demure full-length portrait of Mistinguett as a sweet, simple country girl. The image was popular enough to have been done in at least two different color versions, the other example showing her in a red dress (see PAI-XLVII, 63).
Dimensions: 41 x 76 7/8 in./104 x 195.4 cm
Bourgeois made her debut as Mistinguett at the Casino de Paris in 1895 and went on to appear in venues such as the Folies Bergère, Moulin Rouge and Eldorado. Her risqué routines captivated Paris, and she went on to become the most popular French entertainer of her time and the highest paid female entertainer in the world, known for her flamboyance and a zest for the theatrical. In 1919 her legs were insured for 500,000 francs.
Mistinguett. ca. 1913
Artist: G. K. BENDA (Georges Kugelmann) Size: 46 1/8 x 62 in./117.2 x 157.6 cm Philippe G. Dreyfus, Paris With a career spanning over 50 years, Mistinguett was one of the greatest performers of the early half of the 20th century. Here, Benda, a little-known graphic artist, depicts her in all her coquettish glory, the wind playfully sweeping both her dress and bowed puppy into the air. As humorous as it is coy.
Dimensions: 46 1/8 x 62 in./117.2 x 157.6 cm
Artist: CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 45 5/8 x 61 7/8 in./115.8 x 157 cm Imp. Minot, Paris This is one of the first designs Gesmar created for Mistinguett, done when he was just 17 years old. New to the advertising scene, he already shows an advanced understanding of how to grab an audience's attention: the swirls of the rosette on her hat, the grand stretch of the ostrich plumes, and the undulating stripes on her skirt echo each other and create a hypnotic draw to the page.
Dimensions: 45 5/8 x 61 7/8 in./115.8 x 157 cm
Though Mistinguett never married, she had a son, Léopoldo João de Lima e Silva, by Brazilian diplomat Leopoldo de Lima e Silva (died 1931); the latter was a grandson of the Duke of Caxias. She also had a long relationship with Maurice Chevalier, 13 years her junior. It is claimed that she and Chevalier informed to the police in 1940 that singer/songwriter Charles Trenet was gay and consorting with youths.
Mistinguett / Casino de Paris. 1920
Artist: LEONETTO CAPPIELLO (1875-1942) Size: 46 1/2 x 62 5/8 in./118 x 159 cm Imp. Devambez, Paris "Even though Mistinguett . . . had been expertly portrayed by many artists . . . Cappiello managed to find a rather novel angle to present the legendary performer: He sets us down in a box seat, a superior vantage point from which to watch the legendary performer appearing in 'La Revue Nouvelle' at the Casino de Paris. It was her first public appearance in several years without her steady partner and lover, Maurice Chevalier, with whom she had just parted ways. It was in this revue that she introduced one of her signature songs, 'La Parisienne.' And in addition to the unusual perspective is the signature title, something we never see in a Cappiello design" (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 204).
Dimensions: 46 1/2 x 62 5/8 in./118 x 159 cm
Mistinguett / Casino de Paris. 1922
Artist: CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 44 1/8 x 60 in./112.2 x 152.4 cm Imp. Karcher, Paris Mistinguett was Gesmar's chief client and close friend from the time he was seventeen years old. This poster represents one of his simplest and most effective designs, drawing all the attention to the performer's face by offsetting it against a waterfall of feathers cascading off the page.
Dimensions: 44 1/8 x 60 in./112.2 x 152.4 cm
She first recorded her signature song, "Mon Homme", in 1916. It was popularised under its English title "My Man" by Fanny Brice and has become a standard in the repertoire of numerous pop and jazz singers.
Artist: CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 46 x 62 7/8 in./116.9 x 159.6 cm Imp. H. Chachoin, Paris Although framed with swoops of green ostrich feathers and yards of dazzling baubles, it is perhaps Mistinguett's smile which attracts us the most in this particularly rare design.
Dimensions: 46 x 62 7/8 in./116.9 x 159.6 cm
Mistinguett / Bonjour Paris. 1925
Artist: CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 23 3/8 x 32 1/2 in./59.4 x 82.5 cm Lith. Delko, Anvers Premiering on November 10, 1924, Bonjour Paris was Mistinguett's latest (and last) revue at the Casino de Paris before switching her semi-permanent residence over to the Moulin Rouge. Performing alongside her were Earl Leslie and the singer Saint-Granier.
Dimensions: 23 3/8 x 32 1/2 in./59.4 x 82.5 cm
During a tour of the United States, Mistinguett was asked by Time magazine to explain her popularity. Her answer was, "It is a kind of magnetism. I say 'Come closer' and draw them to me."
Artist: CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 47 1/4 x 62 7/8 in./120 x 159.6 cm Imp. H. Chachoin, Paris One of the most smashing and rare of all of Gesmar's designs for Misstinguett, she appears in a fur-trimmed riding ensemble, complete with crop.
Dimensions: 47 1/4 x 62 7/8 in./120 x 159.6 cm
Mistinguett died in Bougival, France, at the age of 80, attended by her son, a doctor. She is buried in the Cimetière Enghien-les-Bains, Île-de-France, France.
Artist: CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 44 1/8 x 62 in./112.4 x 157.3 cm Imp. H. Chachoin, Paris One of Gesmar's most luxurious images for Mistinguett, this poster plays on her well-known flirtatious performance style, the ostrich feathers almost forcing her to pay peek-a-boo with the viewer.
Dimensions: 44 1/8 x 62 in./112.4 x 157.3 cm
Upon her death, writer Jean Cocteau observed in an obituary, "Her voice, slightly off-key, was that of the Parisian street hawkers—the husky, trailing voice of the Paris people. She was of the animal race that owes nothing to intellectualism. She incarnated herself. She flattered a French patriotism that was not shameful. It is normal now that she should crumble, like the other caryatids of that great and marvelous epoch that was ours"
Mistinguett / Moulin Rouge. 1926
Artist: CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 29 3/8 x 46 in./74.7 x 117 cm Imp. H. Chachoin, Paris Mistinguett achieved her greatest success at the Moulin Rouge, where this 1926 revue was simply called Mistinguett. "It is one of Gesmar's most beautiful posters: without jewels or fancy dress, it's the Miss, child of Paris, which he shows us here. . . alluring, tender, and roguish with the rose between her lips which we would like to pluck." (Folies-Bergère, p. 11).
Dimensions: 29 3/8 x 46 in./74.7 x 117 cm
Artist: CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 36 5/8 x 55 1/4 in./93 x 140.4 cm C. Langner, Berlin Around the time of her ça ... c'est Paris! revue, Gesmar presented Mistinguett with two alternative posters - this is the one she ultimately chose, sassily displaying her signature legs. This particular variant was printed in Germany, and is missing the artist's signature.
Dimensions: 36 5/8 x 55 1/4 in./93 x 140.4 cm
Mistinguett. ca. 1927
Artist: CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 46 5/8 x 63 1/4 in./118.4 x 160.6 cm H. Chachoin, Paris One of the rarest of Gesmar's designs for Mistinguett, this image shows her flirtatiously smoking a pearl-encrusted pipe, glancing coyly over her shoulder.
Dimensions: 46 5/8 x 63 1/4 in./118.4 x 160.6 cm
Mistinguett. ca. 1927
Artist: ROUGEMONT Size: 46 x 61 3/4 in./116.8 x 156.8 cm Imp. Richier-Laugier, Paris One of Mistinguett's go-to ensembles was the tramp, be it the sweet impoverished thing in her Rags-to-Riches performance or the rakish Artful Dodger-esque figure shown here.
Dimensions: 46 x 61 3/4 in./116.8 x 156.8 cm
Mistinguett. ca. 1928
Artist: CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 44 5/8 x 123 1/2 in./113.3 x 313.6 cm H. Chachoin, Paris In this spectacular two-sheet poster, Gesmar shows the two distinct stage personas affected by Mistinguett: the flamboyant showgirl and the Parisian street urchin. She was equally effective and popular in both guises. The poster is usually referred to as "Rags to Riches," and was the artist's last poster for Mistinguett.
Dimensions: 44 5/8 x 123 1/2 in./113.3 x 313.6 cm
Mistinguett. ca. 1928
Artist: ZIG (Louis Gaudin, 1882-1936) Size: 46 5/8 x 62 1/4 in./118.4 x 158.2 cm Imp. H. Chachoin, Paris After her favorite designer, Gesmar, died in 1928, Mistinguett turned to Zig to create lively posters and costumes for her many performances. A showman at heart, he knew how to give an image eye-catching pizzaz and style, which showcased Mistinguett's flamboyant public persona perfectly. Possibly referencing the fact that Mistinguett began her career as a flower seller singing ballads and folk songs in cafés and restaurants, this sweet image presents the performer as a naive darling of the stage.
Dimensions: 46 5/8 x 62 1/4 in./118.4 x 158.2 cm
Casino de Paris / Mistinguett / Paris Miss. 1930
Artist: ZIG (Louis Gaudin, 1882-1936) Size: 15 x 23 in./38 x 58.2 cm Central Publicité, Paris Dripping in fur, feathers, and jewels, this small design for Mistinguett's "Paris Miss" revue at the Casino de Paris is all-glamour.
Dimensions: 15 x 23 in./38 x 58.2 cm
Casino de Paris / Mistinguett / Paris Qui Brille. 1931
Artist: ZIG (Louis Gaudin, 1882-1936) Size: 15 1/8 x 34 7/8 in./38.3 x 88.6 cm Central Publicité, Paris Mistinguett's revue "Paris Qui Brille" was directly inspired by the unprecedented success of Josephine Baker's "Paris Qui Remue," which closed at the Casino de Paris a few weeks prior. Both shows focused on elaborate costumes and dance numbers. This is the smaller format.
Dimensions: 15 1/8 x 34 7/8 in./38.3 x 88.6 cm
Mistinguett. ca. 1931
Artist: ORSI (1889-1947) Size: 44 1/2 x 60 1/2 in./113.3 x 153.6 cm Publicité Phogor, Paris While almost every other poster features Mistinguett in either lavish costumes or in some wild setting, this image by Orsi focuses on two of her most notable assets: a winning smile and large, green eyes.
Dimensions: 44 1/2 x 60 1/2 in./113.3 x 153.6 cm
Artist: ZIG (Louis Gaudin, 1882-1936) Size: 62 7/8 x 47 1/8 in./159.6 x 119.7 cm Imp. H. Chachoin, Paris Despite being 59 at the time that this poster was made, Mistinguett appears as youthfully alluring as ever, glamorously clad in a rhinestone-studded, barebacked swimsuit and matching hat. Her career would continue on for over another decade, making her not only one of the best paid but also one of the oldest women in showbiz at the time.
Dimensions: 62 7/8 x 47 1/8 in./159.6 x 119.7 cm
Mistinguett / Féerie de Paris / Casino de Paris. 1937
Artist: JEAN-DOMINIQUE VAN CAULAERT (1897-1979) Size: 15 1/2 x 22 3/4 in./39.4 x 57.7 cm Imp. Delattre, Paris "Féerie de Paris" was such a hit that the box office of the Casino de Paris had to be enlarged. The theme of the revue was a tour of Paris monuments led by Mistinguett wearing a six-foot high Eiffel Tower of a costume. Van Caulaert could only fit part of it into this design, the rest tumbling outside of the frame. The poster produced for the enduring success of the show's run "d'après" the previous year's original design certainly doesn't hint at the fact that Mistinguett was already 64 at the time of the performance. This is the smaller format.
Dimensions: 15 1/2 x 22 3/4 in./39.4 x 57.7 cm
Mistinguett / Théâtre Mogador. 1937
Artist: JEAN-DOMINIQUE VAN CAULAERT (1897-1979) Size: 45 3/4 x 59 1/2 in./116.2 x 151.2 cm Atelier Girbal, Paris With the trademark sophistication and refinement for which his celebrity portraits were known, Van Caulaert paints Mistinguett in her street urchin personae for an appearance in ça c'est Parisien at the Théatre Mogador.
Dimensions: 45 3/4 x 59 1/2 in./116.2 x 151.2 cm
Mistinguett / Vedette Columbia. 1938
Artist: JEAN-DOMINIQUE VAN CAULAERT (1897-1979) Size: 45 1/8 x 62 3/8 in./114.6 x 158.4 cm A sassy image to coincide with her latest record put out by Columbia, featuring a new rendition of her signature song "Mon Homme."
Dimensions: 45 1/8 x 62 3/8 in./114.6 x 158.4 cm
Mistinguett / Casino de Paris. ca. 1939
Artist: ROUGEMONT Size: 30 3/4 x 47 in./78 x 119.5 cm Imp. Richier-Laugier, Paris With a nod to the great Gesmar, Rougemont gives us a dazzling close-up of Mistinguett, full of the sparkle and flamboyance that she always projected on stage.
Dimensions: 30 3/4 x 47 in./78 x 119.5 cm
Mistinguett. 1941/ Forever Paris
Artist: JEAN-DOMINIQUE VAN CAULAERT (1897-1979) Size: 39 x 57 3/8 in./99 x 145.6 cm Imp. Delattre, Paris For her "Forever Paris" revue at the Casino de Paris, Van Caulaert gives us perhaps the most sensuous version of Mistinguett, showing off her stockinged thigh through a daring slit in her curve-hugging dress.