Lisa Fonssagrives

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Lisa Birgitta Bernstone
May 17, 1911(1911-05-17)
Västra Götaland County, Sweden Died February 4, 1992 (aged 80)
New York City, New York, U.S. Other names Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn Occupation Supermodel, Dancer/Dance Teacher, Photographer, Fashion Designer, Sculptor[1] Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)[2] Hair color Black[3] Measurements 34-23-34[2] Spouse Fernand Fonssagrives
(1935-1950)
Irving Penn
(1950-1992)

Lisa Fonssagrives (May 17, 1911 – February 4, 1992), born Lisa Birgitta Bernstone[4] was a Swedish fashion model widely credited as the first supermodel.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]Fonssagrives was born in Sweden (variously reported as Gothenburg[4] or Uddevalla[1]) and raised in Uddevalla.[4] As a child, she took up painting, sculpting and dancing. She went to Mary Wigman‘s school in Berlin and studied art and dance. After returning to Sweden, she opened a dance school.[13] She moved from Sweden to Paris to train for ballet (after participating with choreographer Astrid Malmborg in an international competition) and worked as a private dance teacher with Fernand Fonssagrives,[13] which then led to a modeling career,[1] and she would say that modeling was “still dancing”.[14] While in Paris in 1936, photographer Willy Maywald discovered her in an elevator and asked her to model hats for him.[13] Fonssagrives’ photographs were then sent to Vogue, and Vogue photographer Horst took some test photographs of her.[5][13] Before Fonssagrives came to the United States in 1939, she was already a top model.[15] Her image appeared on the cover of many magazines during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s,[6][14] including Town & Country, Life, Time, Vogue, and the original Vanity Fair. She was reported as “the highest paid, highest praised, high fashion model in the business”.[6][16][17] Fonssagrives once described herself as a “good clothes hanger”.[5]


Fonssagrives at London Paddington station, 1951, by Toni FrissellShe worked with fashion photographers including George Hoyningen-Huene, Man Ray, Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, George Platt Lynes, Richard Avedon, and Edgar de Evia. She married Parisian photographer Fernand Fonssagrives in 1935; they divorced and she later married another photographer, Irving Penn, in 1950. She went on to become a sculptor in the 1960s and was represented by the Marlborough Gallery in Manhattan.[1]Fonssagrives died, aged 80, in New York, survived by her second husband, Irving Penn and her two children: her daughter Mia Fonssagrives-Solow, a costume designer, and her son, Tom Penn, a designer.[1]The Elton John photography collection auction held by Christie’s on October 15, 2004 sold a 1950 Irving Penn photograph of his wife, Lisa Fonssagrives, for $57,360.[18]

  • ^ a b c d e Anne-Marie Schiro (February 6, 1992). “Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, 80, Artist Who Gave Up Career as a Model”. The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE7DD153DF935A35751C0A964958260. Retrieved March 6, 2008. 
  • ^ a b “ADVERTISING: Billion-Dollar Baby”. Time. 1949-09-19. p. 6. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,800718-6,00.html
  • ^ “ADVERTISING: Billion-Dollar Baby”. Time. 1949-09-19. p. 5. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,800718-5,00.html
  • ^ a b c Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, Nicholas Callaway, Alexander Liberman, Alexandra Arrowsmith (1994). Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn: sculpture, prints and drawings. http://books.google.com/books?lr=&cd=1&as_brr=0&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=&id=fY5PAAAAMAAJ&d
    q=
    lisa+birgitta+bernstone&q=gothenburg+uddevalla
  • ^ a b c Rosemary Ranck (February 9, 1997). “The First Supermodel”. The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9902E2DE153DF93AA35751C0A961958260. Retrieved September 24, 2006. 
  • ^ a b c Wyllie, Alice (2008-01-10). “An enduring model”. http://news.scotsman.com/katemoss/An-enduring-model.3657497.jp
  • ^ Brubach, Holly (1998-02-08). “Style; A State of Grace”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/08/magazine/style-a-state-of-grace.html?pagewanted=1. “…Lisa Fonssagrives, who in retrospect surely qualifies as the first supermodel.”. 
  • ^ “Christian Dior: Lisa Fonssagrives lives”. China Daily. 2008-07-01. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/2008-07/01/content_6809682.htm. “Generally credited with being the first ever supermodel, Fonssagrives’…” 
  • ^ Alexander, Hilary (2008-06-30). “The thigh’s the limit at Christian Dior”. Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/hilaryalexander/3365000/The-thighs-the-limit-at-Christian-Dior.html. “the iconic first super-model, Lisa Fonssagrives” 
  • ^ Johnson, Geoffrey (March 2010). “On the life and work of photographer Beatrice Tonnesen”. Chicago Magazine. http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/March-2010/On-the-life-and-work-of-photographer-Beatrice-Tonnesen/. “…1949, Lisa Fonssagrives, recognized today as the original supermodel” 
  • ^ Cheesman, Chris (2007-10-19). “Pictures: Original stills from JFK assassination revealed”. Amateur Photographer. http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Pictures_Worlds_first_supermodel_Original_1963_stills_from_JFK_assassination_revaled_news_150431.html. “…Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, described as the ‘world’s first supermodel'” 
  • ^ Singh, Anita (2008-11-13). “Photographs of Angelina Jolie, Kate Moss and Britney Spears for sale at Christie’s”. Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/3452390/Photographs-of-Angelina-Jolie-Kate-Moss-and-Britney-Spears-for-sale-at-Christies.html. “She has been described as the original supermodel, gracing the pages of Vogue in the 1940s and 1950s” 
  • ^ a b c d Seidner, David (Spring 1985). “Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn”. Bomb Magazine. http://bombsite.com/issues/12/articles/645
  • ^ a b Crystal Renn and Marjorie Ingall. Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace. ISBN 143910123X. http://books.google.com/books?id=ytDyDAAE8DcC&lpg=PA104&dq=lisa%20fonssagrives%20still%20dancing&lr&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is&as_brr=0&pg=PA104#v=onepage&q&f=false
  • ^ “Noted Model Designs Late Late Wear”. Life. 1957-11-18. http://books.google.com/books?id=vVYEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA98&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false
  • ^ “ADVERTISING: Billion-Dollar Baby”. Time. 1949-09-19. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,800718-1,00.html
  • ^ Robertson, Nan (1956-05-25). Model Life: Mannequin Turns Fashion Creator; Lisa Fonssagrives Uses Tricks She Learned On Runway to Develop Convertible Styles(subscription required). http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30811FD3458157B93C7AB178ED85F428585F9
  • ^ Elton John photo collection nets $900,000 USA Today October 15, 2004.
    • Gross, Michael: Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, New York: W. Morrow, 1995, ISBN 0-688-12659-6
    • Seidner, David (ed): Lisa Fonssagrives: Three Decades of Classic Fashion Photography, New York: Vendome Press, 1996, ISBN 0-86565-978-8

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