Jul 16, 2020 - Sale 2541

Sale 2541 - Lot 130

Estimate: $ 1,200 - $ 1,800
"Madame." Maquette of the poster for the 1961 Embassy Pictures remake of the film Madame Sans-Gêne, starring Sophia Loren and Robert Hossein, and directed by Christian-Jaque. Gouache, with ink, pen, and pencil on board. 953x1499; 37 1/4x59 inches, image, framed to 44x66 inches. Unsigned. Overall spotting and some condition issues (see condition report).

This large and action-packed image features Sophia Loren as the film's protagonist, the bawdy, brave laundress-turned-Dutchess, Catherine, in a central, sexy pose. Surrounding her are numerous battlefield vignettes of her alternately smooching or fighting alongside her husband, Sergeant Lefebvre, and his troops in Napoleon's army.

The plot is based on the true story of Catherine Hübscher, laundress to Napoleon Bonaparte from the time he was corporal. She eventually married Lefebvre, a high-ranking officer who fought in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars and was subsequently given the titles of Marshall of the Empire and Duke of Danzig by the Emperor. The title of Dutchess was thus bestowed upon Catherine, whose earthy and often outspoken ways among the court became legend. The French dramatist Victorien Sardou combined those stories with the real-life actions of female soldier Marie-Thérèse Figueur into a vaudeville play in 1893 titled Madame Sans-Gêne. Figueur, who fought for twenty-two years in the French Revolutionary Army and the Grand Armée, held the true nom de guerre "Sans-Gêne." In the written and stage plays, as well as film versions of it (such as the 1924 silent picture starring Gloria Swanson), it is Catherine who helps fight and plot the 1799 coup d'état.

This image was cropped and edited in various formats to advertise the movie in several countries. No artist was ever credited with the design.