WHAT: Press preview for the new exhibition “Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image”
WHEN: Thursday, June 15
WHERE: Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and G streets N.W.
WHO: Kim Sajet, director, National Portrait Gallery
Kate C. Lemay, historian, National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery presents the first major exhibition on Marlene Dietrich in the United States. “Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image,” showcases the life and influence of the actress in more than 45 objects, including correspondence, film clips and photographs. Portraits of Dietrich include those made by notable photographers such as Irving Penn.
Dietrich brought androgyny to the silver screen through her roles in movies such as Morocco (1930), Shanghai Express (1932) and Seven Sinners (1940). The biggest Hollywood star at a time when “talkies” were still new, Dietrich challenged strictly limited notions of femininity through her lifestyle and fashion. She once stated, “I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.” Relying on her good looks, striking voice and witty intelligence, Dietrich achieved international fame during her long career.
Dietrich received many honors including the Medal of Freedom for her service entertaining American troops for 18 months during World War II, often near the front lines. The German-born star, who became an American citizen in 1939, remains a symbol of anti-Nazism, a fashion icon and an influential figure of the LGBTQ community.
# # #