Lisette Mode

Posted by Fabio 6 June 2011

Lisette Model (November 10, 1901 – March 30, 1983) was an Austrian-born American photographer. 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. 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 life-long professional photographer), although Parisian portrait photographer Rogi Andre was the person Model credited with providing her primary instruction in camera techniques.

Visiting her mother in Nice in 1934, 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.