Lisette Model

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Lisette Model (born Elise Amelie Felicie Stern; November 10, 1901 – March 30, 1983) was an Austrian-born American photographer.

Early life[edit]

Lisette Model was born Elise Felic Amelie Stern in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. Her father was an Italian/Austrian doctor of Jewish descent attached to the Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Army and, later, to the International Red Cross; her mother was French and Roman Catholic, and Model was baptised into her mother's faith. Two years after her birth, her parents changed their family name to Seybert. According to interview testimony from her older brother, she was sexually molested by her father, though the full extent of his abuse remains unclear.

Education[edit]

She was primarily educated by a series of private tutors, achieving fluency in three languages. At age 19, she began studying music with composer Arnold Schönberg, and was familiar to members of his circle. "If ever in my life I had one teacher and one great influence, it was Schönberg," she said.

Paris[edit]

Model left Vienna for Paris after her father's death in 1924 to study voice with Polish soprano Marya Freund. It was during this period that she met her future husband, the French-Jewish painter Evsa Model (1901-1976). In 1933, she gave up music and recommitted herself to studying visual art, at first taking up painting as a student of Andre Lhote (whose other students included Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Hoyningen-Huene). She also took up photography, taking basic instruction in darkroom techniques from her younger sister Olga Seybert (herself a lifelong professional photographer), although Parisian portrait photographer Rogi Andre was the person Model credited with providing her primary instruction in camera techniques.

First photographs[edit]

Visiting her mother in Nice in 1934 (she and Olga had emigrated from Vienna several years prior), Model took her camera out on the Promenade des Anglais and made a series of portraits which are among her most widely reproduced and exhibited images. These close-cropped, often clandestine portraits of the local privileged class already bore what would become her signature style: close-up, unsentimental and unretouched expositions of vanity, insecurity and loneliness.

Marriage[edit]

She married Evsa Model in 1937 and the following year they emigrated to join her husband's sister in Manhattan. She worked as a photographer for PM magazine and regularly published in Harper's Bazaar by editors Carmel Snow and Alexey Brodovitch. Model eventually became a member of the New York Photo League and studied with Sid Grossman until their demise in 1951. Model was an active League member and served as a judge in membership print competitions. In 1941, the League hosted her first solo exhibition.[1] From 1941-1953, she was a freelance photographer and contributed to many publications including Harper's Bazaar, Look, and Ladies' Home Journal.

Teaching[edit]

In 1947, she taught photography at the San Francisco Institute of Fine Arts. In 1951, Model was invited to teach at the New School for Social Research in New York City, where her longtime friend Berenice Abbott was also teaching photography. Model's best known pupil was Diane Arbus, who studied under her in 1957, and Arbus owed much of her early technique to Model's example. Model taught in New York until she died.

Death[edit]

Model died in 1983 from heart and respiratory disease.[2]

The Estate of Lisette Model is represented by Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY.[3]

Chronology[edit]

  • 1943 "Action Photography" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, "Photographs by Lisette Model" - Art Institute of Chicago
  • 1944 "New Yorkers" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, "Art in Progress" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1946 "The Museum Collection of Photography" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1948 "A Survey of Today's Photography" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, "Fifty Photographs by Fifty Photographers" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1949 "Leading Photographers: Lisette Model" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1951 "Twelve Photographers" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1953 "Contemporary American Photography" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1954 "Great Photographers" - Limelight Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1955 "The Family of Man" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1957 "70 Photographers Look at New York" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1958 "Photographs from the Museum Collection" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1960 "A Bid for Space" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1963 "A Bid for Space" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1965 Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship, "Invitational Exhibition, 10 American Photographers" - University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • 1967 "Photography in the 20th Century" - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
  • 1969 "The Camera and the Human Facade" - Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
  • 1970 "The People Yes" - Floating Foundation of Photography, New York, NY
  • 1972 "Brodovitch and His Influence" - Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, PA
  • 1973 "Threads and No Threads" - Floating Foundation of Photography, New York, NY
  • 1974 "American Masters" - Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
  • 1975 "Women of Photography: An Historical Survey" - San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
  • 1976 "The Photographer and the Artist" - Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, NY, "Lisette Model Photographs" - Sander Gallery, Washington D.C.
  • 1977 "New York: the City and Its People" - A and A Gallery, Yale, New Haven, CN, "Appearances" - Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY, "Three-Woman Show: Diane Arbus, Lisette Model, Rosalind Solomon" - Galerie Zabriskie, Paris, France, "Photographs from the Collection of the Center for Creative Photography" - Center for Creative Photography, Carmel, CA, "Photographs from the Collection #1: America" - Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
  • 1978 "New Standpoints: Photography 1940-1955" - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, "Photographic Crossroads: The Photo League" - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada, "The Quality of Presence" - Lunn Gallery, Washington D.C., "How Photography Clicked" - Floating Foundation of Photography, New York, NY
  • 1978, Rencontres de la photographie, Arles, France
  • 1979 Monograph published by Aperture, "Lisette Model: Photographs" - Vision Gallery, Boston, MA, "August Sander, Lisette Model" - Port Washington Public Library, Port Washtington, NY
  • 1980 Watari Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, Photographers Gallery, South Yarra, Australia, Ikona Gallery, Venice, Italy, "The Magical Eye: Definitions of Photography" - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
"Lisette Model" - Galerie Fiolet, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1981, PPS Gallery, Hamburg, Germany, "Carl Siembab: A Photographic Patron" - Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA, "Photography of the Fifties: An American Perspective" - Center for Creative Photography, Carmel, CA, "Lisette Model" - Galerie Viviane Esders, Paris, France, "Lisette Model: A Retrospective" - New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
  • 1982 "Lisette Model" - Berner-Photo Galerie, Bern, Switzerland, "Lisette Model, A Retrospective" - Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
  • 1983 Dies March 30 in New York. "Weegee, Lisette Model, Diane Arbus" - Comfort Gallery, Haverford, PA, "Lisette Model: A Celebration of Genius" - Parsons Exhibition Center, New York, NY, "Lisette Model" - Sander Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1984 "Lisette Model/Evsa Model" - Ikona Gallery, Venice, Italy, "Lisette Model" - Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto, Canada
  • 1985 "The New York School Photographs: Part One" - Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., "The New York School Photographs: Part Two" - Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., "Masters of the Street II" - Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA
  • 1987 "Vintage Women" - Photocollect, New York, NY
  • 1988 "Lisette Model: Vintage Photographs" - Germans Van Eck Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1989 "Noted Women Photographers of the 20s and 30s" - Jan Kesner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, "New York: Photography between the Wars" - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  • 1990 "Lisette Model" - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
  • 1991 "Lisette Model" - International Center of Photography, New York, NY
  • 1992 "Lisette Model: Photographien, 1933–1983" - Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
  • 1997 "Lisette Model: Selections from the Collection of the International Center of Photography" - Paine Webber Art Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2000 "Lisette Model" - Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
  • 2001 "Lisette Model" - Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2002 "Lisette Model" - Baudoin Lebon Gallery, Paris, France, "Lisette Model" - L'Espace 14-16 Verneuil, Paris, France
  • 2003 "Lisette Model" - Maurice Keitelman, Paris, France"A Clear Vision: Photographic Works from the F. C. Gundlach Collection" - International House of Photography, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2006 "The Streets of New York: American Photographs from the Collection, 1938-1958" - National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
  • 2007 "Lisette Model and Her Successors" - Aperture Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2010 "Lisette Model" - The Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, France

Collections[edit]

  • Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD
  • Albertina, Vienna, Austria
  • The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ
  • Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
  • Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
  • Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
  • The Jewish Museum, New York, NY
  • Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  • Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • The Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA
  • The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia
  • The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
  • de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara, CA
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
  • Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence KS
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Publications[edit]

  • "Lisette Model" by Berenice Abbott published 2007 by Aperture Foundation
  • "Lisette Model" by Ann Thomas, published by the National Gallery of Canada to accompany an exhibition of Model's work which travelled the United States, Canada, and Germany during 1990–1992.

References[edit]