"No human weakness escaped her gaze: Clothes, gestures, the faces of those she observed - whether millionaires or beggars - condense in her photographs to a characteristic sharpness that points beyond the individual to social conditions. In this way, the Viennese Lisette MODEL has created icons of 20th century photography that have influenced several generations of photographers, from Larry FINK to Diane ARBUS to Nan GOLDIN.
The black-and-white photographs by Lisette MODEL included in this catalog volume for the exhibitions in Vienna and Winterthur are, at first glance, more closely related to caricature than to reportage. They bring to the point visually what can hardly be described verbally. Thus, the idle rich strangers sitting on the Promenade des Anglais (Nice, 1934) become an almost surreal theater and symbol of a society perishing from its own arrogance. In the photographs of the poor population in the south of France (from 1933) or later, after her emigration to the USA, in the Lower East Side of New York (from 1939), the American photographer with Austrian roots tends neither towards idealization nor sentimentality, but remains remarkably sober in her observations.
The exhibition in Vienna was curated by Monika Faber; Urs Stahel was responsible for the exhibition in Winterthur in collaboration with the Kunsthalle Wien." (somewhat adapted text, © Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2001)