American Venus: The Tragedy of America’s First Supermodel

Audrey Munson (1891 – 1996), the “American Venus,” an artist’s model and film actress, was the model or inspiration for scores of statues in New York City and across the country. She appeared, nude, in the 1915 film Inspiration (re-issued in 1918 as The Perfect Model), the 1916 film Purity, and also in Heedless Moths (1921). Her long life didn’t end as glamously. After a series of scandals, she attempted suicide in 1922, and spent 65 years in an asylum before her death at age 104. Even though her likeness appears on sculptures and images across America, her grave was unmarked until 2016.


“Audrey Munson, America’s First Supermodel—And First Nude Movie Star,” Ellen Gutoskey, Mental Floss

“The Forgotten Story of Audrey Munson, Famous Muse and Fierce Advocate for Women Artists,”
Alexxa Gotthardt, Artsy

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