Group 2

Lisette Model

1901

Elise Amélie Félicie (Lisette) Stern was born on 10 November in Vienna, as the second child of three. Her father, Victor Hypolite Josef Calas Stern, came from a Jewish family and was a doctor. Her mother, Françoise Antoinette Félicité (Félicie) Picus, was a French Catholic. Her brother, Salvatór Stern, was a year older.

1903

Her father changed the family name from Stern to Seybert.

1909

Olga Seybert, the sister, was born.

1918

Studied piano for the composer Edward Steuermann. He introduced her to a circle of avant-garde artists in Vienna.

1920

Embarked on two years of music studies under the composer Arnold Schönberg, at the Schwarzwald School in Vienna.

1924

Studied singing for two years under Marie Gutheil-Schoder. Her father died aged 58.

1926

Moved from Vienna together with her mother and her sister Olga. Lisette Seybert settled in Paris, and the others lived in Nice. She continued to study music in Paris, and took singing lessons for Marya Freund.

1933

Became interested in art and studied painting for a short period with the artist André Lhote. She discovered photography through her sister Olga, who later became a photographer in the field of science, and through her friend, Rogi André, a photographer who was the first wife of André Kertész.

1934

On a visit to her mother in Nice she started photographing the series with people along the Promenade des Anglais. While there she met her future husband, the Russian artist Evsa Model (b. 1899).

1935

Photos from the Promenade des Anglais series were published in the February issue of the French magazine Regards.

1937

Married Evsa Model in Paris.

1938

The Models emigrated to the USA and settled in New York.

1939

Started producing her Reflections and Running Legs series. Also portrayed Delancey Street, Battery Park and Wall Street.

1940

Lisette Model met Alexey Brodovitch, art director of Harper’s Bazaar. Brodovitch introduced her to Beaumont Newhall, curator of the newly-inaugurated department of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Newhall bought two of Model’s photographs for the museum collection and included them in the exhibition Sixty Photographs: A Survey of Camera Aesthetics later the same year. Several photographs from the Reflections series were published in the December issue of the magazine Cue. This was the first time a magazine printed her American work.

1941

Ralph Steiner, art editor at PM’s Weekly, discovered her work. Several photographs by Lisette Model were published under the title “One Photographer’s Explanation of Why France Fell”. The Photo League in New York organised her first solo exhibition. Some 40 photographs were shown, including works from Promenade des Anglais, Running Legs and Reflections. Embarked on a collaboration with Alexey Brodovitch and Harper’s Bazaar which continued until 1955. One of her most famous photographs, Coney Island Bather, was used to illustrate an article, and this was her first assignment for the magazine.

1943

Went to Chicago, where she had a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago: Photographs by Lisette Model. Later that year, she visited Washington and met Edward Steichen for the first time. Eight of her photographs were shown at the inaugural exhibition at the photographic department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

1944

Photographed blind people at the Lighthouse, a workshop for the blind. Harper’s Bazaar published the photo essay Sammy’s from a bar in Bowery, New York. Her mother died after a period of ill health.

1946

Photographed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Madison Square Gardens in New York. Lisette and Evsa Model spent the summer in San Francisco together with their friend, Pauline Schubert. Met a group of West Coast photographers and became close friends with several of them, including Ansel and Virginia Adams, Imogen Cunningham and Minor White.

1948

Received official confirmation that her brother, Salvatór, had died in a concentration camp in Germany.

1949

Travelled with her husband to Reno, Nevada, during the summer, on an assignment for Ladies’ Home Journal; a photo essay about divorce. Started teaching at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Fifteen of her works were shown in the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition programme Leading Photographers, which toured until 1954.

1950

The Models took lessons from the photographer Sid Grossman.

1951

Started teaching more intensely, both at the New School for Social Research in New York and also privately. Alexey Brodovitch and Berenice Abbott were also teachers at the school. The exhibition Twelve Photographers and Christmas Photographs opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

1952

Started on a volume of photographs of jazz musicians. Worked on the book for the next five years, but never completed it, due to lack of funding.

1953

Returned to Europe for the first time since emigrating to the USA, partly to negotiate the sale of the family property in Italy. Spent five months in France and Italy. Started on her photo series of monuments in Rome.

1954

Went to Venezuela and portrayed politicians, public monuments and architecture, pedestrians in the streets, and Maracibo people. Portrayed jazz musicians at the Music Inn, Newport Jazz Festival (1954-56).

1955

Contributed one work to Edward Steichen’s exhibition The Family of Man at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

1956

Portrayed jazz musicians at the New York Festivals and Downing Stadium at Randall’s Island (1956-61 and 1966-70), and Central Plaza. Diane Arbus started studying under Lisette Model. They were close friends until the death of Arbus in 1971.

1965

Received a Guggenheim grant for her project Glamour: The Image of Our Image.

1966

Visited Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Hollywood.

1967

Went to Italy. Returned to New York earlier than planned, due to illness.

1976

Evsa Model died.

1977

24 of her pictures were printed in the December issue of Camera, which was devoted to her life and oeuvre.

1978

Taught at the International Center of Photography in New York.

1980

Exhibitions in Germany, Japan, Canada, Italy and the Netherlands.

1981

Retrospective at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Lisette Model. A Retrospective.

1982

Went to France and Germany. Was awarded the “Medal of the City of Paris”.

1983

Died on 30 March at the New York Hospital, aged 82.

1990

Retrospective at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

2000

The exhibition Lisette Model: Fotografien 1934-1960 opened at the Kunsthalle in Vienna and went on to the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Zürich in 2001.

2002

The exhibition Lisette Model was shown at Mois de la Photo before going on to Galerie Baudoin Lebon in Paris in 2003.

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