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Lynn Fontanne

Lynn Fontanne
Usage Conditions Apply
Wilfrid Gabriel De Glehn, 1870 - 1951
Lynn Fontanne, 6 Dec 1887 - 30 Jul 1983
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 76.2 x 64.8 x 3.8cm (30 x 25 1/2 x 1 1/2")
Frame: 93.3 x 80 x 7.6cm (36 3/4 x 31 1/2 x 3")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Estate of Wilfrid de Glehn, courtesy of Messum's Fine Art London
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Essex, England
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.
(David Messum Fine Art, Ltd., Buckinghamshire and London, 1997); purchased by a private collector; (David Messum); purchased 1999 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
20th Century Americans: 1900-1930 (re-installation 2012)
On View
NPG, South Gallery 322