Fact Sheet: “Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image”

“Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image”
June 16, 2017, through April 15, 2018

Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery
Eighth and F streets N.W.

“Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image” is the first exhibition to showcase the life and influence of Marlene Dietrich. 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 sense of humor, Dietrich achieved international fame during her long career.

The exhibition features more than 45 objects, including photographs, correspondence and film clips. Dietrich’s many honors include the Medal of Freedom for her service entertaining American troops for 18 months during World War II, often on the front lines. The German-born star, who became an American citizen, remains a symbol of anti-Nazism, a fashion icon and an influential figure of the LGBT community. Portrait Gallery historian Kate C. Lemay is the curator of this exhibition.


National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the history of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Website: npg.si.edu. Follow the museum on social media at @NPGFacebookYouTubeInstagramand Tumblr.

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