Lisa Fonssagrives: Three Decades of Classic Fashion Photography

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9780865659780: Lisa Fonssagrives: Three Decades of Classic Fashion Photography

Swedish by birth, Parisian by inclination, and American following her marriage to Irving Penn in 1950. Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn (1911-1992) was the most sought-after model in the history of international fashion photography for three decades and the most famous face in such magazines as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.
During her long career, she posed for all the prominent photographers of her day: George Hoyningen-Huene, Man Ray, Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, George Platt Lynes, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Norman Parkinson and Richard Avedon, among others. Of special importance was her work with Fernand Fonssagrives, her first husband; with Horst, with whom she shared a common fate as a European immigrant; and of course with Irving Penn, her second husband.
Lisa Fonssagrives was obviously more than just a model for photographers - she was both their muse and inspiration. Many of them made their most beautiful and noteworthy fashion photographs in cooperation with her. Among these is a surprisingly large number which rank among the absolute classics in the history of fashion photography of our century.
This volume was compiled and arranged by David Seidner, a talented fashion photographer of the new generation who unearthed an undiscovered collection of photographs which once belonged to Lisa Fonssagrives. The British photo historian Martin Harrison wrote the accompanying biographical essay.

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Far from simply a "good clothes hanger", as she is known to have described herself, Lisa Fonssagrives brought her considerable talents as a dancer, fashion designer, photographer, and sculptor to her modeling, creating a persona at once earthly and larger than life. Lisa Fonssagrives: Three Decades of Classic Fashion Photography chronicles Fonssagrives's modeling years and establishes her role in bringing fashion photography to the level of high art. It's easy to forget the clothes in light of her sleek, athletic form and engaging Mona Lisa smile. While the tall columns of text may dissuade you from reading the essays, plug on. David Seidner's and Martin Harrison's essays are informed and engaging. The beautifully produced illustrations prove her more a muse than a model for fashion photographers such as Richard Avedon, Anton Bruehl, Horst, Man Ray, and Irving Penn. Readers have the pleasure of watching her become more beautiful as she ages.

Review:

. . . with an essay by the art historian Martin Harrison, the photographer David Seidner has assembled more than 100 images . . . by 21 photographers. The pleasure of the collection, aside from its appeal to the fashion-afflicted, is the quality and variety of photographic vision. . . . [B]oth the woman and the clothes crackle with sex appeal. . . . -- The New York Times Book Review, Rosemary Ranck

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