Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, Swedish (1911 - 1992)

Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn

Lisa Fonssagrives (May 17, 1911 – February 4, 1992), born Lisa Birgitta Bernstone was a Swedish fashion model widely credited as the first supermodel.

She was born in Uddevalla, Sweden. Her father, a dentist who also painted, changed the family name from Anderson, which he considered too commonplace, to Bernstone. Her mother made clothes and encouraged Lisa to study art and ballet.

Lisa Bernstone went to Paris to pursue a dancing career. She met and married Fernand Fonssagrives, a dancer, there in 1935. Photographs Led to Modeling.

A year later, Horst took some photographs of her that led to a modeling career. Pictures of her appeared in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and after moving to the United States with her husband in 1939, she worked both as a model and as a photographer.

She continued both careers after her divorce and subsequent marriage to Penn. After she stopped modeling in the mid-50's, she designed clothes for about six years, at one point doing a collection of leisure wear for Lord & Taylor.

In the 1960's, she devoted her time to sculpturing, working in marble, bronze and fiberglass. She was represented by the Marlborough Gallery.

A book on her work as a model is scheduled for publication later this year in Germany.

Fonssagrives died, aged 80, in New York, survived by her second husband, Irving Penn and her two children: her daughter Mia Fonssagrives-Solow, a costume designer, and her son, Tom Penn, a designer.[

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