A silent star who played before the camera in the nude? It sounds inconceivable--yet it happened and that is only a fragment of Audrey Munsons extraordinary story.
--Kevin Brownlow, director, author Hollywood: The Pioneers
"A fascinating point of view. A model's perspective that sheds new light on the still undervalued American figurative sculpture from the early 20th century."
--Christopher Gow, specialist, late 19th and early 20th century sculpture and painting, Sothebys, New York
Who today has heard of Audrey Munson? Somehow, along with her films, she faded into obscurity. Yet she never truly left--for decades her statues have stood mute in parks, gazing down upon us mere mortals. Silent no longer, authors Rozas and Gottehrer have given voice to the triumphant and tragic story of Audrey Munson.
--Neal P. Graffy, historian
"Masterfully done. Diane Rozas has captured moments of history and romance with obvious reverence. How wonderful it is to savor this tale portrayed by these compelling images."
--Pilar Graves, photographic curator, Los Angeles and New York
Audrey Munson was once called the The most perfect, most versatile, most famous of American models, whose face and figure have inspired thousands of modern masterpieces of sculpture and painting. It was not an exaggeration. Audreys career is the classic tale of meteoric rise and tragic downfall--from "Queen of the Artists' Studios" to fragile psychiatric patient.
Her best known clients included Daniel Chester French and Karl Bitter for whom she provided inspiration beyond her physical grace. The consummate professional, she modeled for dozens of civic monuments and was called Americas Venus. At one time, thirty pieces of art based on her poses were housed at New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition to many public edifices throughout the U.S., she has adorned the estates of John D. Rockefeller and George Vanderbilt, J. P. Morgans yacht, and U.S. Mint coins.
At the peak of her career she was selected as the primary model for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition (P.P.I.E.) in San Francisco, eventually appearing in 24,000 feet of mural decorations, scores of groups of statuary, and the Expositions exquisite symbolic figurine which graced the cover of Sunset magazine. Audrey Munsons life as a fine art model was the subject of four controversial silent films in which she starred--mostly nude. After a media spectacle linking her with a murder case her career faltered and ultimately doomed her to a life of reclusion in a psychiatric facility at the age of 39. She lived there largely unacknowledged by her family until the astonishing age of 105. This then is her story.
Diane Rozas exhibits her fine art photography in Los Angeles galleries and has her work in numerous private collections. As an advertising copywriter, she works on both the East and West coasts. In addition to authoring seven books in the field of cooking and entertaining, she is a former contributing editor to Cooking Light magazine.
Born in Southern California, Anita Bourne Gottehrer followed an education in fine art with a career in the entertainment business. Now based in New York, with her husband she manages a music publishing and production company.