Jean Ward Patchett
February 16, 1926
Preston, Maryland, U.S.
|Died||January 22, 2002 (aged 75)|
|Eye color||Dark green/brown|
Jean Ward Patchett Auer (February 16, 1926– January 22, 2002) was a leading fashion model of the late 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s. She was among the best known models of that era, which included Dovima, Dorian Leigh, Suzy Parker, Evelyn Tripp and Lisa Fonssagrives. Patchett was the subject of two of Vogue Magazine's most famous covers, both shot in 1950 by Erwin Blumenfeld and Irving Penn. She was famous for being one of the first high-fashion models to appear remote; previously, models had appeared warm and friendly. Irving Penn described her as "a young American goddess in Paris couture".
Jean Ward Patchett was born on February 16, 1926 in Preston, Maryland to James Franklin Patchett (1891–1962), a World War I veteran and plumber, and Mary Ward Patchett (1891–1970), who were both originally from Delaware. She was the youngest of four children; she had two sisters, Dorothy Lee (1917–2006) and Elizabeth "Betty" (1922–1999), and a brother, James Franklin Patchett Jr. (1919–2002). She was of Scottish, Irish, English, and French ancestry. She attended secretarial school, studied voice at Peabody Institute, and attended Goucher College before deciding to become a model.
In October 1949, Patchett was photographed by Penn along with Bridget Bate Tichenor for the famous photograph The Tarot Reader. A print of this photograph is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Patchett was the subject of two of Vogue Magazine's most famous covers, January 1950 by Erwin Blumenfeld and April 1950 by Irving Penn. Cathy Horyn wrote that the January 1950 cover "became shorthand for an entire decade". During her career, she appeared on over 40 magazine covers. Patchett's face was used in the 1957 Fred Astaire-Audrey Hepburn-Kay Thompson film, Funny Face, which spoofed the fashion industry.
Shortly after signing to Harry Conover's agency, Patchett began living in a Methodist rooming home for women.
Patchett married Louis Auer, a Yale-educated banker in 1951. After 1962, they adopted two children named Bart and Amy. She refused to work before 10 am or after 4:30 pm because she liked to cook meals for herself and her husband.
- "LIFE". 1949-01-17.
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- Horyn, Cathy (February 4, 2002). "Jean Patchett, 75, a Model Who Helped Define the 50s". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
- "Jean Patchett". Vogue. Archived from the original on March 31, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
- "Jean was "a young American Goddess of Paris Couture"". Retrieved July 10, 2014.
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- The Tarot Reader (Jean Patchett and Bridget Tichenor) - New York 1949 by Irving Penn SAAM
- Horyn, Cathy (2002-02-04). "Jean Patchett, 75, a Model Who Helped Define the 50s". The New York Times.
- "Voguepedia: Jean Patchett profile". Archived from the original on 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
- "Jean Patchett Auer (1926-2002) - Find a Grave".