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Catalog Data

Lisette Model, 1 Nov 1901 - 30 Mar 1983  Search this
Ella Fitzgerald, 25 Apr 1917 - 15 Jun 1996  Search this
Gelatin silver print
Image/Sheet: 35.1 × 27.6 cm (13 13/16 × 10 7/8")
Mat (Verified): 71.2 × 56 cm (28 1/16 × 22 1/16")
Frame: 71.9 × 56.7 × 3.2 cm (28 5/16 × 22 5/16 × 1 1/4")
c. 1954
Exhibition Label:
Ella Fitzgerald entered a Harlem talent contest in the mid-1930s, intending to do a dance. On stage, however, her legs froze, and in desperation she launched into song. Her fallback alternative proved good enough to win the contest, and so began a singing career that would make Fitzgerald the "First Lady of Song." Blessed with a voice capable of seamlessly spanning three octaves, Fitzgerald soon perfected her remarkable gifts for vocal improvisation, known as "scat" singing. Her "songbook" recordings of American standards, made from 1956 to 1964, are the definitive tributes to Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and others. Fitzgerald's respectful understanding of a composer's intentions made these songwriters some of her most ardent fans. "I never knew how good our songs were," lyricist Ira Gershwin once said, "until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them."
Costume\Jewelry\Earring  Search this
Interior  Search this
Costume\Jewelry\Ring  Search this
Equipment\Sound Devices\Microphone  Search this
Costume\Stole\Fur  Search this
Ella Fitzgerald: Female  Search this
Ella Fitzgerald: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Jazz  Search this
Ella Fitzgerald: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
© The Lisette Model Foundation, Inc. (1983). Used by permission.
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery