Supermodels of the World: The Ur-Model, Lisa Fonssagrives

Posted on January 08, 2021

Because there is a deep need to focus on something beautiful and transcendent right now, take a stroll through the gorgeously elegant portfolio of the supermodel who came before all of the others and defined high fashion of the pre- and post-War era: the dramatically chic Lisa Fonssagrives.

She was born in Sweden in 1911 and trained as a dancer and sculptor before posing for her first set of photographs for Horst P. Horst in 1936. She caught the eye of other leading photographers such as Man Ray and Richard Avedon, owing to her natural ability to find her best, most dramatic angle and due in no small part to her angular blonde patrician looks being considered the highest beauty standard of the day.

She married legendary photographer Irving Penn, who she met in 1947. Unsurprisingly, she became his muse and he photographed her endlessly during their marriage. She was the most sought-after model in the world for at least a dozen years and among the most popular for a span of three decades. In her time, she posed for every major art and fashion photographer of the day; perfecting a partnership style that combined a model’s knowledge of her body with a sculptor and dancer’s love of form and movement and married it (sometimes literally) to the needs and desires of a world-class photographer. This is why the images are so iconic and why her career lasted so long. She was the model in her purest, highest form: muse, dancer, sculptor, artist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Tumblr, eBay, Pinterest]

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