Lisette Model Biography

Bruce Silverstein Gallery is the North American representative of the Lisette Model Estate.

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Lisette Model is regarded as a master of the photographic medium, both for her highly personal style and her work as a teacher. She was interested in depicting all aspects of modern society—the emotion, frustration, tension, anxiety and frantic tempo that shaped urban existence in between the wars. Model's predilection for an aggressive approach to picture taking rendered the subjects that exaggeratedly fill her picture planes into a myriad of iconic characters. Her first series, images of the idle rich vacationing on Nice's Promenade des Anglais, won instant acclaim and are among her most recognized photographs. Model's work is based in social criticism as much as it is rooted in her use of the camera as a tool for understanding life by projecting the creative desires and motivations of the artist.

Lisette Model was born Elise Amelie Felicie Stern in Vienna in 1901, Model was a student of Arnold Schönberg, and was greatly influenced by the Expressionist avant-garde aesthetic and philosophy emerging in Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Shortly after moving to New York City in 1938, her work was being published and by 1941, she had joined the Photo League and had her first solo exhibition. Model was invited to teach at the New School for Social Research in New York City in 1951 where she influenced notable photographers such as Diane Arbus, Rosalind Solomon, and Larry Fink, among others. She continued to teach until her death in 1983. She was the recipient of many prestigious awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1965. In 2011, Bruce Silverstein Gallery began working with Model's estate and organized a major show of her work.

The artist has been the subject of worldwide exhibitions and catalogs, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; International Center of Photography, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; New Orleans Museum of Art; Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C.; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Aperture Gallery, New York; and the Musee du Jeu de Paume, Paris.

Her work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; George Eastman House, Rochester; Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Cleveland Museum of Art; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York among others.

Numerous books have been published about her work. Her first and most important monograph, Lisette Model, was issued in 1979 by Aperture.

Lisette Model
featured artworks

Sammy's Bar, New York (Two Male Singers) by Lisette Model contemporary artwork photography
Lisette Model Sammy's Bar, New York (Two Male Singers), 1940–1944 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1950s
10.75 x 13.62 cm
Bruce Silverstein Request Price & Availability
Rome, Headless by Lisette Model contemporary artwork photography
Lisette Model Rome, Headless, 1953–1955 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1953–1955
11.32 x 16.5 inches
Bruce Silverstein Request Price & Availability
Rome, Columns by Lisette Model contemporary artwork photography
Lisette Model Rome, Columns, 1953–1955 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1953–1955
13.75 x 10.62 inches
Bruce Silverstein Request Price & Availability
Restaurant by Lisette Model contemporary artwork photography
Lisette Model Restaurant, 1944 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1950
13.5 x 10 inches
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Singer at Café Metropole by Lisette Model contemporary artwork photography
Lisette Model Singer at Café Metropole, 1946 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1970s
19 1/2 x 15 5/8 inches
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Bruce Silverstein
Fashion Show, Hotel Pierre, New York 1940–1946 by Lisette Model contemporary artwork photography
Lisette Model Fashion Show, Hotel Pierre, New York 1940–1946, c. 1955 Gelatin silver print flush-mounted to board
15.75 x 19 inches
Bruce Silverstein Request Price & Availability

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