Self Reflections: The Expressionist Origins of Lisette Model

Self Reflections: The Expressionist Origins of Lisette Model

first reflection, new york, circa 1940's by lisette model

Lisette Model

First Reflection, New York, circa 1940's, 1939–1940

Thursday, September 22, 2011Tuesday, November 22, 2011


New York, NY USA

Bruce Silverstein Gallery is pleased to present Self Reflections: The Expressionist Origins of Lisette Model. This groundbreaking show coincides with the gallery’s announcement of representation of The Estate of Lisette Model and is the first to present the work of this highly respected artist with the aim to explore the origins of her interest in art making.

The exhibition includes known as well as unseen photographs by Model, displayed alongside works on paper by important Expressionist artists working in Europe: Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, George Grosz, Jeanne Mammen, and Lyonel Feininger. Additionally, Self Reflections features a recording of Arnold Schönberg’s masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire, a significant inspiration for Model whose creativity was largely fueled by music.

Lisette Model is regarded as a master of the photographic medium. A native of Vienna, Model was a student of Arnold Schönberg, and was greatly influenced by the Expressionist avant-garde aesthetic and philosophy emerging in Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Model’s interest in depicting all aspects of modern society—the emotion, frustration, tension and anxiety of urban existence between the wars—mirrors the work of a number of second generation German and Austrian Expressionists. Like these artists, she opts for a flattened composition and her figures exaggeratedly fill the picture plane, creating unflattering caricatures of her subjects who become expressionistic tropes. Model’s work is based in social criticism as much as it is rooted in her use of the camera as a tool for understanding life by projecting the creative desires and motivations of the artist.

Lisette Model’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and catalogs, and her influence as a teacher is widely acknowledged, most notably as the instructor to Diane Arbus, Peter Hujar, and Rosalind Solomon. Her work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Getty Museum, Centre Pompidou, Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art among others.

To access a recording of Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire featured during the exhibition please visit www.brucesilverstein.com. A catalog has been published to accompany the exhibition.