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Pamphleteer, Paris
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© Estate of Lisette Model, courtesy Baudoin Lebon/Keitelman

Lisette Model
American, Paris, 1933 - 1938
Gelatin silver print
11 5/16 x 9 1/8 in.
84.XM.153.21

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Eyes puffy and squinting, nearly closed as if swollen shut, lips curled and slightly open, an unidentified man handing out pamphlets in Paris has been frozen in a split second of uncompromising reality. Lisette Model's unforgiving, almost cruel portrait exposes in him a shabbiness and ugliness that serves as a metaphor for society at its worst.

Model frequently photographed greatly overweight subjects, as if to draw a parallel between the excesses of their lives and bodies. She mounted the print on a torn section of the society column of the newspaper, contrasting this gasping, sweaty man with the chronicles of the glamorous elite to emphasize her interest in the class struggle.