PODCAST By the time Audrey Munson turned 25 years old, she had became a muse for some of the most famous artists in America, the busiest artist’s model of her day.
She was such a fixture of the Greenwich Village art world in the early 20th century that she was called the Venus of Washington Square, although by 1913 the press had given her a grander nickname — Miss Manhattan.
Her face and figure adorned public sculpture and museum masterpieces. And they do to this day.
But just a few years after working with these great artists, Audrey Munson disappeared from the New York art world, caught up in a murder scandal that would unfairly ruin her reputation.
And on her 40th birthday she would be locked away forever.
FEATURING: Daniel Chester French, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Richard Morris Hunt, Isadore Konti and many Beaux-Arts greats.
Listen Now – Tragic Muse
The Maine Monument, featuring Audrey in two places.
The goddess Pomona atop the Pulitzer Fountain
The Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge used to be much more glamorous with two statues created by Daniel Chester French (and both based on Audrey Munson) on either side of the approach.
The allegorical figure of Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Museum
The Straus Memorial with a contemplative muse sculpture. Seen here on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
Civic Fame atop the Manhattan Municipal Building.
Audrey at the pinnacle of her fame.
Alexander Stirling Calder puts the finishing touches on a ‘star maiden’ for the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition.
The Palace of Fine Arts is the most famous remnant of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition still standing.
Publicity still from the 1915 film Inspiration (later The Perfect Model).
Another publicity photo, this time for the film Purity.
An illustration from her newspaper column Queen of the Artist’s Studio with Munson rescuing a young woman from an unfortunate scene of vice.
Audrey was almost completely forgotten about after 1931 and most of the references to her at all are in the context of the Wilkins murder case.
After you’ve listened to this show on the life of Audrey Munson, dive back into the back catalog and listen to these shows with similar themes:
The Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast is brought to you …. by you!
We are now producing a new Bowery Boys podcast every other week. We’re also looking to improve and expand the show in other ways — publishing, social media, live events and other forms of media. But we can only do this with your help!
We are now a creator on Patreon, a patronage platform where you can support your favorite content creators.
Please visit our page on Patreon and watch a short video of us recording the show and talking about our expansion plans. If you’d like to help out, there are several different pledge levels. Check them out and consider being a sponsor.
We greatly appreciate our listeners and readers and thank you for joining us on this journey so far.