G K BENDA, Mistinguett Enlarge 1 /1


Mistinguett (c1913) Materials & Technique: prints, posters, colour lithograph on paper on calico

Dimensions: comp 146.4 h x 111.2 w cm sheet 151.8 h x 114. w x 2.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1981
Accession No: NGA 81.2572
Cutting-edge technology is not just a characteristic of our age

Mistinguett was a French actress and singer whose real name was Jeanne Bourgeois. She began as a flower-seller in a restaurant in her home town, where she also sang popular ballads. When an  acquaintance of hers made up the name Miss Tinguette, in reference to her bell-like voice, she adopted it, eventually joining the two words together.

She made her debut as Mistinguett at the Casino de Paris in 1895, and also appeared at the Folies-Bergère, the Moulin Rouge and the Aristide Bruant’s famous Eldorado. As one commentator wrote: ‘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. In 1919, her legs were insured for the then astounding amount of 500-000 francs.’

A number of prominent artists of the time, including George Kugelmann Benda, produced posters depicting her performances.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra