Did you know that around New York City there is a statue of the same woman woven into a lot of the architecture? You’ll find her sculpted into dozens of famous landmarks, like the public library—where she leans on a white horse, a fountain on the intersection of 59th and 5th, and on top of the Manhattan Municipal Building. She’s also found in over 30 statues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Her name is Audrey Munson. She was once the most famous artist’s model in the United States in the early 20th century when the Beaux-Arts style of architecture grew in popularity and required lots of sculptures and detailed ornamentation.
When Audrey was young, she was scouted in the streets of New York City. She made her way into the art world, where she began posing for famous artists and sculptors. She was the perfect model, known for being able to evoke a mood through posture and expression, as well as hold poses for an extremely long time. Her popularity grew so much around New York City, that she was nicknamed “Miss Manhattan.”
Unfortunately, her modeling career—and life—took a turn for the worse when she became embroiled in a murder scandal. A delusional neighbor in New York killed his wife so he could be with Audrey. This ruined her public image, and she had trouble finding work from that point forward. She was eventually forced to leave New York City and move upstate with her mother. She hated her new small-town life so much that she fell into a deep depression and was eventually committed to a mental institution, where she remained institutionalized into her 90’s.
Her name isn’t very familiar anymore, but next time you walk around New York City, take a look at some of the sculptures and see if they resemble Audrey Munson. Chances are they will.
Senior Art Director