She took voice and acting lessons on the side that by 1886 led to appearances on stage at smaller venues. Guilbert debuted at the Variette Theatre in 1888. She eventually sang at the popular Eldorado club, then at the Jardin de Paris before headlining in Montmartre at the Moulin Rouge in 1890. For her act, she was usually dressed in bright yellow with long black gloves and stood almost perfectly still, gesturing with her long arms as she sang. An innovator, she performed raunchy songs of tragedy and lost love about the Parisian poverty from which she had come.
Guilbert broke and rewrote all the rules with her audacious lyrics, and the audiences loved her. She was noted in France, England, and the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century for her songs and imitations of the common people of France. She was a favorite subject of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who made many portraits and caricatures of Guilbert and dedicated his second album of sketches to her. Guilbert made successful tours of England and Germany, and the United States in 1895-1896. She performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Even in her fifties, her name still had drawing power and she appeared in several silent films as well as in talkies, including a role with friend, Sacha Guitry. She once gave a performance for King Edward VII, the Prince of Wales at a private party on the French Riviera.
Hostesses vied to have her at their parties. In later years, Guilbert turned to writing about the Belle Epoque and in 1902 two of her novels were published. She also conducted schools for young girls in New York and Paris. Guilbert became a respected authority on her country's medieval folklore and on 9th July 1932 was awarded the Legion of Honor as the Ambassadress of French Song. Yvette Guilbert died in 1944, aged 79. She was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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