Marthe Chenal (1881-1947) is one of the greatest lyric singers of the first part of the 20th century. Between 1905 and 1923, she performed major roles at the Palais Garnier and the Opéra-Comique de Paris. In particular Don Giovanni, The Phantom Ship, Faust or Carmen. In 1917, she appeared at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome in the role of Massenet's Sapho and gave a concert of French opera arias at La Scala in Milan.
Powder box "Marthe Chenal" by Parfumeur Rigaud, 1920
In the background, a letter written in 1922 from the Carlton in Cannes in which the singer declines the wishes of an admirer. (coll. GF)
The perfume in its "Le parfum de Marthe Chenal" case by Parfumer Rigaud is part of the Collection of the Conservatoire Louis Vuitton.
The muse of the Tout-Paris
In her property of Villers-sur-Mer, in Normandy, Marthe Chenal receives the Tout-Paris. She is all the rage aboard her Hispano-Suiza in the streets of Villers. She has many connections, including one with Picabia, with whom she will establish an artistic collaboration.
This muse of the Tout-Paris and of the intellectual and cultural avant-garde entrusted Picabia, who had officially declared his break with the Dada movement, with the organization of the New Year's Eve celebrations on December 31, 1921, in her private mansion on the rue de Courcelles in Paris. About a hundred guests were present at this celebration which brought together painters, writers and celebrities. Brancusi, Cocteau, Morand, Picasso, Vollard and social figures from France in the 1920s were among the guests.
Original copy of the invitation to the New Year's Eve 1921 at Marthe Chenal, drawn by Picabia
The Cacodylate Eye is a Dadaist painting by the artist Francis Picabia, painted in 1921 in 1921.
Louis Vuitton "Marthe Chenal" crocodile leather toiletry case, created for the singer in 1925. Collection of the Louis Vuitton Conservatory. Cf Louis Vuitton Legendary trunks p.281
A major event in the singer's career
Drawing by Georges Scott (1873-1943) "La Marseillaise personified
with the famous soprano Marthe Chenal
A major event in the actress's career
On November 11, 1918, Marthe Chenal entered into legend at the time of the First World War. Draped in the tricolour banner, from the balcony of the Opéra Garnier, the seductive soprano begins La Marseillaise in front of the people of Paris, in ecstasy, in the presence of Georges Clémenceau.
After signing up as a nurse, she was also on all fronts, particularly with the "poilus", singing for them in the trenches.
On 11 November 2011, an exceptional exhibition opened in Villare: "Marthe Chenal, la Diva Flamboyante" (Marthe Chenal, the Flaming Diva) dedicated to the famous singer Marthe Chenal, who often stayed in her house in Villers, "le Cloitre".