Sunday, December 18, 2005

audrey- dear audrey



There are times when I can barely hold myself together after I make a sculpture discovery. This time I may need to be committed, as my head is swirling. The following story should knock your socks off.

A baby girl was born in Rochester in 1891. She and her mother moved to NYC and in 1906 she was discovered by a photographer who recognized her for the babe she was and he introduced her to his sculptor bud- Isidor Conti. I'll try to make this short. With a few years, she became the darling of the nation's best known sculptors and you've seen her face hundreds of times throughout public works like the Longfellow Memorial in Cambridge, MA, The Spirit of Commerceon the Manhattan Bridge and the old US Dime. She was, in fact, named the official model of the 1915 Exposition in San Francisco.

In 1916 she started her film career in a little piece of celuloid called "Inspiration" in which she was the first woman to strip to the skin on camera. She was playing, of course, a sculptor's model. After 4 flix, of which only one survives, she moved back to NYC with mom where they lived at a boarding house. Seems that the owner's husband fell in love with her, though, and ended up killing his wife for a chance to marry her. But by that time she and mom were in Toronto, the police found out, he was sentenced to the electric chair and hung himself in hsi jail cell instead.

Eventually, Audrey and mom moved back to Syracuse where she began getting a little strange. She was committed to the psych hospital when she was 39 and lived out her days there until she died at 104 in 1996!

So my point would be? Fascinating story. And you can see her still in dozens of places around the US, just as firm and beautiful as she was at the height of her fame. And that's the beauty of sculpture, pals...

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