Profile of Lee Miller
Elizabeth "Lee" Miller, Lady Penrose (April 23, 1907 – July 21, 1977), was an American model, photographer and photojournalist. She was a fashion model in New York City in the 1920s before going to Paris, where she became a fashion and fine art photographer. During the Second World War, she was a war correspondent for Vogue, covering events such as the London Blitz, the liberation of Paris.
Biography of Lee Miller
Childhood, New York
Lee Miller was born on April 23, 1907, in New York. Her father was of German descent, and her mother of Scottish and Irish descent. Theodore always favored Lee. In her childhood, Miller experienced issues in her formal education, being expelled from almost every school she attended. In 1925, at the age of eighteen, Miller moved to Paris where she studied lighting, costume and design at the Ladislas Medgyes' School of Stagecraft. She returned to New York in 1926 and joined an experimental drama programme at Vassar College then enrolled in the Art Students League of New York in Manhattan to study life drawing and painting..
At 19 Lee Miller nearly stepped in front of a car on a Manhattan street but was saved by Condé Nast, the publisher of Vogue. This incident helped launch her modeling career.
she appeared on the cover of Vogue on March 15, 1927. Miller's look was exactly what Vogue's then editor-in-chief Edna Woolman Chase was looking for to represent the emerging idea of the "modern girl."
For the next two years, Miller was one of the most sought-after models in New York, photographed by leading fashion photographers including Edward Steichen, Arnold Genthe, Nickolas Muray and George Hoyningen-Huene. A photograph of Miller by Steichen was used to advertise Kotex menstrual pads, without her consent, effectively ending her career as a fashion model. She was hired by a fashion designer in 1929 to make drawings of fashion details in Renaissance paintings but she found photography more efficient.
1929, Photographer, Man Ray, Paris
In 1929, Lee Miller traveled to Paris with the intention of apprenticing herself to the surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray but soon Miller soon became his model and collaborator, as well as his lover and muse. While she was in Paris, she began her own photographic studio, often taking over Ray's fashion assignments to enable him to concentrate on his painting. So closely did they collaborate that photographs taken by Miller during this period are credited to Ray.
Together with Ray, she rediscovered the photographic technique of solarisation, through an accident variously described, with one of Miller's accounts involving a mouse running over her foot, causing her to switch on the light in mid-development.
Amongst Miller's circle of friends were Pablo Picasso and fellow Surrealists Paul Éluard and Jean Cocteau, the latter of whom was so mesmerized by Miller's beauty that he coated her in butter and transformed her into a plaster cast of a classical statue for his film, The Blood of a Poet (1930).
Photography is perfectly suited to women as a profession...it seems to me that women have a bigger chance at success in photography than men...women are quicker and more adaptable than men. And I think they have an intuition that helps them understand personalities more quickly than men."
1932, Photographer, New York
In 1932, Lee Miller returned to New York City and established a portrait and commercial photography studio with her brother Erik as her darkroom assistant.
Clients of the Lee Miller Studio included BBDO, Henry Sell, Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubinstein, Saks Fifth Avenue, I. Magnin and Co., and Jay Thorpe.
During 1932 Miller was included in the Modern European Photography exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York and in the Brooklyn Museum's exhibition International Photographers with László Moholy-Nagy, Cecil Beaton, Margaret Bourke-White, Tina Modotti, Charles Sheeler, Ray, and Edward Weston.
In response to the exhibition, Katherine Grant Sterne wrote a review in Parnassus in March 1932, noting that Miller "has retained more of her American character in the Paris milieu. The very beautiful Bird Cages at Brooklyn; the study of a pink-nailed hand embedded in curly blond hair which is included in both the Brooklyn and the Julien Levy show; and the brilliant print of a white statue against a black drop, illumine the fact rather than distort it."
In 1933, Julien Levy gave Miller the only solo exhibition of her life. Among her portrait clients were the surrealist artist Joseph Cornell, actresses Lilian Harvey and Gertrude Lawrence.
1934, marriage, Cairo, Egypt
In 1934, Miller abandoned her studio to marry the Egyptian businessman and engineer Aziz Eloui Bey, who had come to New York City to buy equipment for the Egyptian National Railways. Although she did not work as a professional photographer during this period, the photographs she took while living in Egypt with Eloui, including Portrait of Space, are regarded as some of her most striking surrealist images.
In Cairo, Miller took a photograph of the desert near Siwa that Magritte saw and used as inspiration for his 1938 painting "Le Baiser." Miller also contributed an object to the Surrealist Objects and Poems exhibition at the London Gallery in 1934.
1940s, Photojournalist, USA, France
In 1937, Miller returned to Paris, where she met the British surrealist painter and curator Roland Penrose.
Four of her photographs ("Egypt" (1939), "Roumania" (1938), "Libya" (1939), and "Sinai" (1939)) were displayed at the 1940 exhibition Surrealism To-Day at the Zwemmer Gallery in London, and she herself moved to London to live with Roland Penrose.
When the Second World War broke out, Lee Miller returned to the US and embarked on a new career in photojournalism as the official war photographer for Vogue, documenting the Blitz.
She teamed up with the American photographer David E. Scherman, a Life correspondent on many assignments. Scherman's photograph of Miller lying in the bathtub of Adolf Hitler's apartment in Munich, with its shower hose looped in the center behind her head, resembling a noose, is one of the most iconic images from the Miller–Scherman partnership.
1947, Motherhood, second marriage, Farley Farm House
In 1946, Lee Miller found herself pregnant by Penrose, she divorced her husband Bey and on May 3, 1947 married Penrose. Their son, Antony Penrose, was born in September 1947.
In 1949, the couple bought Farley Farm House in Chiddingly, East Sussex.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Farley Farm became a sort of artistic Mecca for visiting artists such as Picasso, Ray, Henry Moore, Eileen Agar, Jean Dubuffet, Dorothea Tanning, and Max Ernst.
While Miller continued to do the occasional photo shoot for Vogue, she soon discarded the darkroom for the kitchen, becoming a gourmet cook.
According to her housekeeper Patsy, she specialized in "historical food" like roast suckling pig as well as treats such as marshmallows in a cola sauce (especially made to annoy English critic Cyril Connolly who told her Americans didn't know how to cook). She also provided photographs for her husband's biographies on Picasso and Antoni Tàpies. However, images from the war, especially the concentration camps, continued to haunt her and she started on what her son later described as a "downward spiral".
Miller died of cancer at Farley Farm House in 1977, aged 70. She was cremated, and her ashes were spread through her herb garden at Farley.
Miller's work has served as inspiration for Gucci's Frida Giannini, Ann Demeulemeester and Alexander McQueen.
Articles and websites
General Gabriele D'Annunzio, Prince of Montenevoso OMS CMG MVM (12 March 1863 – 1 March 1938), sometimes spelled d'Annunzio, was an Italian poet, playwright, and journalist and soldier during World War I. He occupied a prominent place in Italian literature from 1889 to 1910 and later political life from 1914 to 1924. He was often referred to under the epithets Il Vate ("the Poet") or Il Profeta ("the Prophet").
D'Annunzio was associated with the Decadent movement in his literary works, which interplayed closely with French Symbolism and British Aestheticism. Such works represented a turn against the naturalism of the preceding romantics and was both sensuous and mystical. He came under the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche which would find outlets in his literary and later political contributions. His affairs with several women, including Eleonora Duse and Luisa Casati, received public attention.
During the First World War, perception of D'Annunzio in Italy transformed from literary figure into a national war hero. He was associated with the elite Arditi storm troops of the Italian Army and took part in actions such as the Flight over Vienna. As part of an Italian nationalist reaction against the Paris Peace Conference, he set up the short-lived Italian Regency of Carnaro in Fiume with himself as Duce. The constitution made "music" the fundamental principle of the state and was corporatist in nature. Though D'Annunzio never declared himself a fascist, he has been described as the forerunner of Italian fascism as his ideas and aesthetics influenced it and the style of Benito Mussolini.
Gabriele D'Annunzio was born in the township of Pescara, in the region of Abruzzo, the son of a wealthy landowner and mayor of the town, Francesco Paolo Rapagnetta D'Annunzio (1831–1893). His father had been adopted at age 13 by a childless rich uncle, Antonio D'Annunzio.Legend has it that he was initially baptized Gaetano and given the name of Gabriele later in childhood, because of his angelic looks, a story that has largely been disproven.
His precocious talent was recognised early in life, and he was sent to school at the Liceo Cicognini in Prato, Tuscany.
He published his first poetry while still at school at the age of sixteen — a small volume of verses called Primo Vere (1879). His verse was distinguished by such agile grace that literary critic Giuseppe Chiarini on reading them brought the unknown youth before the public in an enthusiastic article.
In 1881 D'Annunzio entered the University of Rome La Sapienza, where he became a member of various literary groups, including Cronaca Bizantina, and wrote articles and criticism for local newspapers. In those university years he started to promote Italian irredentism.
He published Canto novo (1882), Terra vergine (1882), L'intermezzo di rime (1883), Il libro delle vergini (1884) and the greater part of the short stories that were afterwards collected under the general title of San Pantaleone (1886).
Canto novo contains poems full of pulsating youth and the promise of power, some descriptive of the sea and some of the Abruzzese landscape, commented on and completed in prose by Terra vergine, the latter a collection of short stories dealing in radiant language with the peasant life of the author's native province. Intermezzo di rime is the beginning of D'Annunzio's second and characteristic manner. His conception of style was new, and he chose to express all the most subtle vibrations of voluptuous life.
Gabriele D'Annunzio joined the staff of the Tribuna, under the pseudonym of "Duca Minimo". Here he wrote Il libro d'Isotta (1886), a love poem, in which for the first time he drew inspiration adapted to modern sentiments and passions from the rich colours of the Renaissance.
Il libro d'Isotta is interesting also, because in it one can find most of the germs of his future work, just as in Intermezzo melico and in certain ballads and sonnets one can find descriptions and emotions which later went to form the aesthetic contents of Il piacere, Il trionfo della morte and Elegie romane (1892).
D'Annunzio's first novel Il Piacere (1889, translated into English as The Child of Pleasure) was followed in 1891 by Giovanni Episcopo, and in 1892 by L'innocente (The Intruder). These three novels made a profound impression. L'innocente, admirably translated into French by Georges Herelle, brought its author the notice and applause of foreign critics. His next work, Il trionfo della morte (The Triumph of Death) (1894), was followed soon by Le vergini delle rocce (The Maidens of the Rocks) (1896) and Il fuoco (The Flame of Life) (1900); the latter is in its descriptions of Venice perhaps the most ardent glorification of a city existing in any language.
D'Annunzio's poetic work of this period, in most respects his finest, is represented by Il Poema Paradisiaco (1893), the Odi navali (1893), a superb attempt at civic poetry, and Laudi (1900).
A later phase of D'Annunzio's work is his dramatic production, represented by Il sogno di un mattino di primavera (1897), a lyrical fantasia in one act, and his Città Morta (The Dead City) (1898), written for Sarah Bernhardt.
In 1883, Gabriele D'Annunzio married Maria Hardouin di Gallese, and had three sons, but the marriage ended in 1891.
In 1894, he began a love affair with the actress Eleonora Duse(1858-1924) which became a cause célèbre. He provided leading roles for her in his plays of the time such as La città morta (1898) and Francesca da Rimini (1901), but the tempestuous relationship finally ended in 1910.
After meeting the Marchesa Luisa Casati in 1903, he began a lifelong turbulent on again-off again affair with Luisa, that lasted until a few years before his death.
By 1910, his daredevil lifestyle had forced him into debt, and he fled to France to escape his creditors. There he collaborated with composer Claude Debussy on a musical play, Le Martyre de saint Sébastien (The Martyrdom of St Sebastian), 1911, written for Ida Rubinstein.
The Vatican reacted by placing all of his works in the Index of Forbidden Books. The work was not successful as a play, but it has been recorded in adapted versions several times, notably by Pierre Monteux (in French), Leonard Bernstein (sung in French, acted in English), and Michael Tilson Thomas (in French). In 1912 and 1913, D'Annunzio worked with opera composer Pietro Mascagni on his opera Parisina, staying sometimes in a house rented by the composer in Bellevue, near Paris.
In 1901, D'Annunzio and Ettore Ferrari, the Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, founded the Università Popolare di Milano (Popular University of Milan), located in via Ugo Foscolo. D'Annunzio held the inaugural speech and subsequently became an associated professor and a lecturer in the same institution.
After the start of World War I, D'Annunzio returned to Italy and made public speeches in favor of Italy's entry on the side of the Triple Entente. With the war beginning he volunteered and achieved further celebrity as a fighter pilot, losing the sight of an eye in a flying accident.
In February 1918, he took part in a daring, if militarily irrelevant, raid on the harbour of Bakar (known in Italy as La beffa di Buccari, lit. the Bakar Mockery), helping to raise the spirits of the Italian public, still battered by the Caporetto disaster. On 9 August 1918, as commander of the 87th fighter squadron "La Serenissima", he organized one of the great feats of the war, leading nine planes in a 700-mile round trip to drop propaganda leaflets on Vienna. This is called in Italian "il Volo su Vienna", "the Flight over Vienna".
On 12 September 1919, he led the seizure by 2,000 Italian nationalist irregulars of the city, forcing the withdrawal of the inter-Allied (American, British and French) occupying forces. The plotters sought to have Italy annex Fiume, but were denied. D'Annunzio then declared Fiume an independent state, the Italian Regency of Carnaro with himself as "Duce" (leader), but finally surrendering the city in December 1920 after a bombardment by the Italian navy.
After the Fiume episode, D'Annunzio retired to his home on Lake Garda and spent his latter years writing and campaigning. Although D'Annunzio had a strong influence on the ideology of Benito Mussolini, he never became directly involved in fascist government politics in Italy.
In 1924 he was ennobled by King Victor Emmanuel III and given the hereditary title of Prince of Montenevoso (Italian: Principe di Montenevoso).
In 1937 he was made president of the Royal Academy of Italy.
D'Annunzio died in 1938 of a stroke, at his home in Gardone Riviera. He was given a state funeral by Mussolini and was interred in a magnificent tomb constructed of white marble at Il Vittoriale degli Italiani.
At the height of his success, D'Annunzio was celebrated for the originality, power and decadence of his writing. Although his work had immense impact across Europe, and influenced generations of Italian writers, his fin de siècle works are now little known, and his literary reputation has always been clouded by his fascist associations.
A prolific writer, his novels in Italian include Il piacere (The Child of Pleasure, 1889), Il trionfo della morte (The Triumph of Death, 1894), and Le vergini delle rocce (The Maidens of the Rocks, 1896).
D'Annunzio's literary creations were strongly influenced by the French Symbolist school, and contain episodes of striking violence and depictions of abnormal mental states interspersed with gorgeously imagined scenes. One of D'Annunzio's most significant novels, scandalous in its day, is Il fuoco (The Flame of Life) of 1900, in which he portrays himself as the Nietzschean Superman Stelio Effrena, in a fictionalized account of his love affair with Eleonora Duse. His short stories showed the influence of Guy de Maupassant. He was also associated with the Italian noblewoman Luisa Casati, an influence on his novels and one of his mistresses.
In Italy some of his poetic works remain popular, most notably his poem "La pioggia nel pineto" (The Rain in the Pinewood), which exemplifies his linguistic virtuosity as well as the sensuousness of his poetry. His work was part of the literature event in the art competition at the 1912 Summer Olympics.
Gabriele D'Annunzio's life and work are commemorated in a museum, Il Vittoriale degli Italiani (The Shrine of Italian Victories). He planned and developed it himself, adjacent to his villa at Gardone Riviera on the southwest bank of Lake Garda, between 1923 and his death. Now a national monument, it is a complex of military museum, library, literary and historical archive, theatre, war memorial and mausoleum.
His birthplace is also open to the public as a museum, Birthplace of Gabriele D'Annunzio Museum in Pescara.
Le comte Robert de Montesquiou, né à Paris le 19 mars 1855 et mort à Menton (Alpes-Maritimes) le 11 décembre 1921, est un poète, homme de lettres, dandy et critique d'art et de littérature.
« Poète et dandy insolent », il aurait servi de modèle à des Esseintes dans À Rebours (1884) de Huysmans et à Monsieur de Phocas de Jean Lorrain. Il fournit aussi à Marcel Proust l'un des modèles du baron de Charlus dans À la recherche du temps perdu, ce qui le rendit furieux malgré les dénégations de Proust. La postérité l'a malmené sans tenir compte de la diversité de ses activités et de la qualité de ses écrits.
En 1897, Boldini est chargé, par l'intermédiaire d'une amie commune, Madame Veil-Picard, de faire le portrait du comte Robert de Montesquiou. Le peintre ne peut qu'être attiré par la personnalité de cet homme de lettres, emblème de l'esthète contemporain et nouvelle incarnation du dandy baudelairien.
Marie Joseph Robert Anatole, Comte de Montesquiou-Fézensac (7 March 1855, Paris – 11 December 1921, Menton), was a French aesthete, Symbolist poet, art collector and dandy. He is reputed to have been the inspiration both for Jean des Esseintes in Joris-Karl Huysmans' À rebours (1884) and, most famously, for the Baron de Charlus in Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu (1913–1927). He also won a bronze medal in the hacks and hunter combined event at the 1900 Summer Olympics.
Robert de Montesquiou was a scion of the French Montesquiou-Fézensac family. His paternal grandfather was Count Anatole de Montesquiou-Fézensac (1788–1878), aide-de-camp to Napoleon and grand officer of the Légion d'honneur; his father Thierry bought a Charnizay manor with his wife's dowry, built a mansion in Paris, and was elected Vice-President of the Jockey Club. He was a successful stockbroker who left a substantial fortune.
Robert was the last of his parents' children. His cousin, Élisabeth, Countess Greffulhe (1860–1952), was one of Marcel Proust's models for the Duchess of Guermantes in À la recherche du temps perdu.
Montesquiou had a strong influence on Émile Gallé (1846–1904), a glass artist he collaborated with and commissioned major works from, and from whom he received hundreds of adulatory letters. He also wrote the verses found in the optional choral parts of Gabriel Fauré's Pavane.
The portrait Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac was painted in 1891–92 by Montesquiou's close friend, and model for many of his eccentric mannerisms, James Whistler.
The French artist Antonio de La Gandara (1861–1917) produced several portraits of Montesquiou.
Tall, black-haired, Kaiser-moustached, he cackled and screamed in weird attitudes, giggling in high soprano, hiding his black teeth behind an exquisitely gloved hand—the poseur absolute. Montesquiou's homosexual tendencies were patently obvious, but he may in fact have lived a chaste life. He had no affairs with women, although in 1876 he reportedly once slept with the great actress Sarah Bernhardt, after which he vomited for twenty-four hours. (She remained a great friend.)"
Montesquiou had social relationships and collaborations with many celebrities of the fin de siècle period, including Alphonse Daudet (1840–1897), Edmond de Goncourt (1822–1896), Eleonora Duse (1858–1924), Sarah Bernhardt (1844–1923), Gabriele d'Annunzio (1863–1938), Anna de Noailles (1876–1933), Marthe Bibesco (1886–1973), Luisa Casati (1881–1957), Maurice Barrès (1862–1923), and Franca Florio.
While Montesquiou had many aristocratic women friends, he much preferred the company of bright and attractive young men. In 1885, he began a close long-term relationship with Gabriel Yturri (March 12, 1860 – July 6, 1905), a handsome South American immigrant from Tucuman, Argentina, who became his secretary, companion, and lover.
After Yturri died of diabetes, Henri Pinard replaced him as secretary in 1908 and eventually inherited Montesquiou's much reduced fortune.
Montesquiou and Yturri are buried alongside each other at Cimetière des Gonards in Versailles, Île-de-France, France.