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Lisette Model: a Performance in Photography

Lisette Model Belmont Park, New York
Lisette Model Belmont Park, New York

Lisette Model (1901 - 1983)
Belmont Park, New York 1956
gelatin silver print
© The Lisette Model Foundation, Inc. (1983). Used by Permission
8 Oct 2011 – 13 Nov 2011

The mid-20th-century photographer Lisette Model (1901-1983) is equally renowned for her shoot-and-run portraits of strangers and her mystification of her own life story. This selection of twenty vintage prints from the National Gallery of Canada will introduce Modelís work to Halifax in the context of the city-wide photographic festival, Photopolis.

Trained as a musician, the Austrian-born Model gave up music in 1933 and acquired her first Rolleiflex camera. Her biting portraits of wealthy tourists sunning themselves on the promenade des Anglais, Nice (1934), secured her reputation as a gifted street photographer. In 1938 she moved to New York City, where on numerous magazine assignments she produced the series Running Legs (1940-41), Reflections (1939-45), the celebrated Coney Island Bather (1941), and images shot in the working-class bars Sammyís and Nickís (1942-1950).

Guest Curator George Steeves is known for his collaborative approach to performative portraiture and his technical expertise in chemical photography. His catalogue essay treats Modelís work from his perspective as a photographer with similar interests. Steeves also poses a question not yet asked in the extensive literature on this great photographer: how did she transpose her considerable talent as a musical performer into the realm of visual art?

Opening Reception Opens jointly with Rubbish Rubbish on Saturday, 15 October, from 6 to 10pm on the occasion of Nocturne.


Friday, 14 October, 1:30-2:30 pm, Keshen Goodman Library, 330 Lacewood Drive: Lisette Model, Street Photographer, George Steeves, curator/photographer

Thursday, 27 October, 7-8 pm, in the exhibition: George Steeves

Saturday, 29 October, 2-4 pm, Bell Auditorium, NSCAD: Affirmation and Denial: Lisette Model and Self-Portraiture, Ann Thomas, Curator of Photography, National Gallery of Canada.

Read an excerpt from the exhibition catalogue

Lisette Model: A Performance in PhotographyPurchase the catalogue

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Exhibition Images
Click on an image to enlarge it.
Lisette Model Belmont Park, New YorkLisette Model Contact SheetLisette Model, Famous GamblerLisette Model, Promenade des Anglais, Nice 

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