First Reflection, New York

Lisette Model American, born Austria

Not on view

Shortly after moving to New York City in 1939, Model made a series of photographs of plate-glass windows that she called “Reflections.” These seminal works show Model not only importing and synthesizing old and new trends from Europe—Atget crossed with New Vision photography—but also anticipating the brooding, shadow-filled aesthetic of film noir, which began to emerge in America at about the same time. The underlying philosophical premise of film noir—that man is unknowable to himself and contains unfathomable, irrational depths—had its origins in psychoanalysis. It cannot be accidental that Model, a native of Vienna, could so perfectly capture that sense of a mysterious figure whose reflected interior is revealed to be a labyrinth of flickering bulbs and indecipherable signs.

First Reflection, New York, Lisette Model (American (born Austria), 1901–1983), Gelatin silver print

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