Tuesday 8 June 2021

american venus

Here pictured in 1915 with Buzzer the Cat, born this day in 1891 (†1996, aged 104), Audrey Marie Munson was considered to be the USA’s first super model, inspiring sculptural works and engravings across the country whose likeness graces many public institutions and endowments.
Discovered whilst window shopping on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan by hobby photographer Felix Benedict Herzog who invited Munson to his studio and introduced her to artist friends, she was immortalised in statuary in courthouse, museums and libraries in New York and was even the model for a commission of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands for an armed Venus de Milo.  Modelling led to four starring roles in silent movies, one appearance was fully nude. 
Lecherously, the landlord of the boarding house where Munson lived with her mother was madly in love with her and murdered his wife so they could be together. Requited or otherwise, this episode compelled Munson to quit her career in 1922 and having attempted suicide herself (the landlord hanged himself in prison awaiting his execution), Munson’s mother had her committed to an insane asylum in upstate New York where she remained for the next six and a half decades, forgotten and with no visitors until a distant relative found her in 1984.