Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Passing of Dina Vierney

William Grimes has authored an obituary in The New York Times--"Dina Vierny, Artist's Muse, Dies at 89"--that is a fascinating read. Vierney died in Paris on January 20th. I wouldn't have thought much about the headline had I not written about Vierney a month ago on this blog ("Artists' Models"). That post had been inspired by an interview she did with NPR. Vierney was one of the great artists' models of the 20th century. She posed for the painters Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, and Pierre Bonnard, but she was the muse for sculptor Aristide Maillol, helping to rejuvenate his career and working hard to promote his reputation after his death. In 1995, she opened the Musée Maillol in Paris. The picture here is a public sculpture by him entitled The Mountain for which she posed (the image is from the NYT website, courtesy of Vierney's estate). Her life story is quite interesting, especially the fact that she was part of the French Resistance during World War II and was arrested more than once for her activities. Her biography would make a great movie. They should get the fabulous Audrey Tatou (Amélie, Dirty Pretty Things) to play her, although she probably would have to gain some weight to accommodate Vierney's self-proclaimed Rubenesque body, a figure that helped make Maillol's sculpture internationally famous.

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