Lisette Model

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Lisette Model's photography is characterised by its use of bold contrasts, unusual angles, and tight cropping. She was unafraid to capture the gritty and unglamorous aspects of urban life, and her work often had a political edge. Her photographs captured the diversity and energy of city life, and became highly influential in the development of street photography as an art form.

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Artist Biography

Lisette Model (1901 – 1983) was an Austrian-American photographer and educator; born in Vienna, Austria in 1901, she studied music and art history before taking up photography in the 1930s. Model studied photography under the guidance of celebrated photographers Gertrude Käsebier and Edward Steichen. She also spent time studying painting with the renowned artist Andre Lhote in Paris.

In the 1940s, Model moved to New York City and began her career as a photography teacher. She taught at the New School for Social Research and the International Center of Photography, among other institutions. Many of her students went on to become influential photographers in their own right, including Diane Arbus. Her work is characterised by its technical skill and formal experimentation, featuring strong contrasts and innovative perspectives. Her frenetic images captured the dynamism of urban life in New York City.

Today her work resides in numerous permanent collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the George Eastman House, Rochester. Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1965, her photographs have been exhibited at institutions such as the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

© The Lisette Model Foundation, Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York


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