This is such a fascinating story — how Audrey Munson, a young girl from Rochester, became the muse for dozens of famous artists and sculptors around the turn of the century, her face and body immortalized in statues and busts all around New York. And then, just as suddenly, she was out of fashion, fell on hard times and was eventually committed to a mental institution.
She modeled for the greatest sculptors and painters in New York, including Alexander Stirling Calder, Daniel Chester French, and Karl Bitter. She made thirty-five dollars a week and lived simply, in a small one-bedroom apartment that she shared with her mother. The art that she posed for, however, was a gateway into the upper echelon of society. When Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands commissioned Bitter to create a Venus de Milo statue “with arms,” Audrey’s arms served as the inspiration. The Rockefeller