Economic crisis 'worst for 60 years' Britain is in the grip of its worst economic crisis for 60 years, the embattled Chancellor Alistair Darling has admitted.
New York Times
"This young women ought to be ashamed of herself," was the usual observation of early 20th-century moralists about Audrey Munson, arguably the most popular nude female model of the Beaux-Arts school. In AMERICAN VENUS: The Extraordinary Life of Audrey Munson, Model and Muse, Diane Rozas, a photographer, and Anita Bourne Gottenhrer, in her first book, have made an extraordinary effort o reclaim long-forgotten facts, newspaper clippings and vintage photographs of this once celebrated life. Indeed, so popular was Munson that at one time the Metropolitan Museum of Art housed 30 pieces of art based on her poses. Born in 1891 into the conservative world of upstate New York City. In fewer than 10 years, she was said to have posed for more civic art commissions than any other model. By 1915, Munson's image increasingly turned up in private collections as well. As a magazine cover girl, she gained a national reputation and was invited to appear (naked, of course) in films. Since she had no acting ability whatever, this second career was to end badly: her first movie, however, publicized as morally depraved, was one of the highest films of its day. Munson left New York and found herself less and less in demand as artistic tastes changed. At 39, she was committed to a mental institution, where she spent the last 65 years of her life in virtual anonymity. Munson died in 1996 at the age of 105.
Audrey Munson was once called the "The most perfect, most versatile, most famous of American models, whose face and figure have inspired thousands of modern masterpieces of sculpture and painting." It was not an exaggeration. Audrey's career is the classic tale of meteoric rise and tragic downfall—from "Queen of the Artists' Studios" to fragile psychiatric patient.
Her best known clients included Daniel Chester French and Karl Bitter for whom she provided inspiration beyond her physical grace. The consummate professional, she modeled for dozens of civic monuments and was called "America's Venus." At one time, thirty pieces of art based on her poses were housed at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition to many public edifices throughout the U.S., she has adorned the estates of John D. Rockefeller and George Vanderbilt, J. P. Morgan's yacht, and U.S. Mint coins.
At the peak of her career she was selected as the primary model for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition (P.P.I.E.) in San Francisco, eventually appearing in 24,000 feet of mural decorations, scores of groups of statuary, and the Exposition's exquisite symbolic figurine which graced the cover of Sunset magazine. Audrey Munson's life as a fine art model was the subject of four controversial silent films in which she starred—mostly nude. After a media spectacle linking her with a murder case her career faltered and ultimately doomed her to a life of reclusion in a psychiatric facility at the age of 39. She lived there largely unacknowledged by her family until the astonishing age of 105. This then is her story.