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Home> Lenci Portraits: Mistinguett

April, 2007

A Lenci Doll Collector article--for Lenci doll collectors



Lenci Portraits: Mistinguett

April 2007

Mistinguett (pronounced "Miss-Tan-get" in French), whose real name was Jeanne Bourgeois, born April 5, 1875, Enghien-les-Bains, France, made her debut at the Casino de Paris in 1895, and appeared in shows at the Folies Bergere, Moulin Rouge, and Eldorado.

Her stage name, an English sounding contraction of "Miss Tinguett", originated in a song from the musical "Miss Helyett", because of her allegedly "English-looking", prominent front teeth. She was also known for her beautiful long legs, which were insured for 500,000 francs in 1919, a huge sum at the time.

Mistinguett became the most popular French entertainer of her time and the highest paid female entertainer of the day.Her signature song "Mon Homme" was recorded as early as 1920. Mistinguett, acclaimed for her vivacious personality has been quoted as saying "A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point. That's basic spelling that every woman ought to know."

By 1924,when the "Mistinguett" doll appears in the Lenci 'Ultime Novita' catalog , she was already a major star often appearing with Maurice Chevalier in revues at the Casino de Paris and at the Moulin Rouge.


1. Mistinguett

Lenci Mistinguett 1924
2. Mistinguett?by Lenci, c.1924 (Collection: Patrizia Nicotra Martini)


The Lenci Mistinguett doll is one of the earliest examples of the Lenci portrait dolls. Although, more of a caricature than a true portrait, the dolls face is molded from a specially created mold which bears a strong likeness to the star, and would have been instantly recognized at the time.

The long-legged body type is seen on various other Lenci models, both with pointed toes(for high heels), and with flat feet, such as on early flapper dolls and the "David Copperfield" doll appearing in the same catalog for 1924.


Lenci Mermaid
3. Mistinguett and Maurice Chevalier

Mistinguett, Ars Lenci  1924
4. Original Catalog Image, Ars Lenci, Ultime Novita 1924 (Private collection)

5. Mistinguett

6. "The most famous legs in the world"

7. , Mistinguett, "Chantez" 1936



P. Hayes, 2007
For The Lenci Doll Collector


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