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Lynn Fontanne studied with Ellen Terry, then England’s most revered actress, and was just beginning her own distinguished career when she posed for Wilfred de Glehn in 1912 to earn extra money as an artist’s model. It would be another decade before she and Alfred Lunt met and formed the most critically acclaimed theatrical partnership of their generation. Married in 1922, Lunt and Fontanne brought a naturalism to acting that transformed American theater: one critic wrote, “they play together . . . with a fluency that is matchless.” From 1928 until they retired in 1960, they excelled in urbane comedy and starred in twenty-seven productions, including Pygmalion, Design for Living, Taming of the Shrew, and The Guardsman. Fontanne received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal in 1935 and was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Kennedy Center in 1980.

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  • Title: Lynn Fontanne
  • Creator: Wilfrid Gabriel De Glehn
  • Date Created: 1912
  • Physical Dimensions: w64.8 x h76.2 x d3.8 cm (Stretcher)
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
  • Classification: Painting

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