Opening next week at Mount Holyoke College Art Museum is Lisette Model and Her Successors, featuring work from the last century’s most significant photographers. Lisette Model (1901–1983) was a woman whose images and eloquent teachings influenced her students Diane Arbus, Larry Fink, and a host of others, many of whom went on to leave their own marks on American photographic history.
Model, born in Vienna, arrived in New York in 1938, a few years after Alexey Brodovitch art director of Harper’s Bazaar, and like him, had resided in France for some fifteen years before settling permanently in the United States. An influx of Continental artistic impulses increasingly pervaded the cultural milieu of New York in the 1940s and 1950s, which may have made it difficult for some photographers to find their own voices. For her part, Model embraced the life and values of the American artistic vanguard, while remaining always and to everyone who knew her somehow different, just slightly mysterious and completely unique.
This exhibition consists of 145 vintage photographs by 13 artists: Diane Arbus, Bruce Cratsley, Elaine Ellman, Larry Fink, Peter Hujar, Raymond Jacobs, Ruth Kaplan, Leon Levinstein, Eva Rubinstein, Gary Schneider, Rosalind Solomon, and Bruce Weber.