Before you enter the exhibit, you are treated to a film by Jean Cocteau, as he creates multiple personas of Lee Miller, in a rare 1930′s film.
You have been set-up to explore this sometimes tragic, many times married, model, photographer, who being inspired by the artists of her time, may have been responsible for some of images credited to them.
She was their muse, sometimes their lover, who seemed to have complete control over her far reaching life.
The gravitas she brought Vogue of all magazines, with her coverage of WWII, including photographs and writings of the death camps of Dachau and Buchenwald, were unheard of for that kind of magazine, plus she was the only woman photojournalist of the war.
This, according to the wall printed biography, was part of what made up this intriguing, and mostly unknown artist. (note: her fame was perhaps more regarding her lifestyle and her work went mostly unappreciated. We apologize for inferring that she was unknown in any way)
She hung out with the great artists of her time, and in one series for Vogue, had them all working for her.
In a series called “Working Farm”, her friends from Saul Steinberg grappling with a hose, to Picasso taking care of her daughter, and even the founder of MOMA, slopping the pigs, ending with a photograph of her taking a nap on the couch, as her guests work the farm. Hilarious.
[photopress:51JWhtbBHtL._SL500_AA240_.jpg,full,alignright] Now at the Jeu De Paume in Paris, through Jan. 4th, 2009
And if you can’t make it, pick up the book by her son. You’ll appreciate the perspective.
And when you discover her life and work, you’ll be amazed by the intensity with she lived and ponder the reasons she took those paths. Unlike many photographers, her personal life became so intertwined with her work, and perception thereof, that each book produced on her becomes a dual examination.
From the world class travels, to her last days on the Farley Farm House, where she had entertained the artistic luminaries of the day, she led a full life, taking a tragic start to a rich finish.
Miller died at Farley Farm House in Chiddingly, Sussex in 1977, aged 70. She was cremated, and her ashes spread through her herb garden at the farm.