A War Hero’s Avant-Garde Mannequins from 1920s Paris

Noted for her work in World War 2, Therese Bonney also worked in Paris as a mannequin photographer

Therese Bonney mannequins

 

Before she achieved notability with her searing photographs of Europe’s children uprooted and dispossessed by the brutality of World War 2, American photographer Therese Bonney (1894-1978) recorded life in her adopted home of Paris, France.

Therese Bonney settled in Paris in 1919 to pursue photography and promote cultural exchange between France and the United States. One effort, the Chain d’Amite, encouraged French families to open their homes to American G.I.s; another, Project Patriotism, inspired airmen who were shot down in France to help the families that had rescued them. Her papers at Berkeley  tyrosemiophilia — the hobby of collecting cheese labels –

This involved some PR, manifest in Bonney’s pictures of Paris shops and fashion, especially her work for Siégel, and Pierre Imans (previously), specialists in realistic mannequins.

 

Therese Bonney mannequins

Paris, France, ca. 1927. Child Mannequin. Two piece bathing suit. Age three years. Produced by Pierre Imans.

 

Some of the designs below were created Lucie Holt Le Son (1899- , a member of The French Union of Modern Artists (Union des artistes modernes), a movement made up of decorative artists and architects founded in France on 15 May 1929 and active until 1959. Its stated purpose was to embrace the new and “break the habit of the eyes”. These mannequins were at the avant-garde.

 

Therese Bonney mannequins

Thérèse Bonney

Paris, France, ca. 1927. Child Mannequin. Clothing in pink and white by Fairyland. Age five years. Produced by Pierre Imans.

Therese Bonney mannequins

Therese Bonney mannequins

Paris, France. Siegel’s store window displays at night. facade in glass and frame finished in silvery grey.

Therese Bonney mannequins

Paris, France, ca. 1927. Child Mannequin. Eton jacket. Age twelve years. Produced by Pierre Imans.

Paris, France. Display of raincoats offered by Au Printemps. Coats are made of rubber, displayed on mannequins placed in front of a screen backdrop.

Paris, France. Display of raincoats offered by Au Printemps. Coats are made of rubber, displayed on mannequins placed in front of a screen backdrop.

Paris, France. Group of bathers, by Siøgel with ocean screen as background. Exhibited at the Salon Nautique in Paris.

France, 1926. Mannequins in carved wood by Siøgel for Galleries Lafayette.

France, 1926. Mannequins in carved wood by Siegel for Galleries Lafayette by Therese Bonney.

Therese Bonney mannequins

 

Therese Bonney mannequins

Therese Bonney mannequins

Paris, France. Winter Skiing window display at Au Printemps, department store. Designed by Siegel.

Therese Bonney mannequins

Paris, France, ca. 1927. Age five years. Various models in winter clothing, made of wools and jerseys. Mannequins had adjustable arms and legs. Mannequin produced by Siegel.

Therese Bonney mannequins

Therese Bonney mannequins

Paris, France, ca. 1927. Coiffeuse Masse sets wig on a mannequin.

Therese Bonney mannequins

Paris, France, ca. 1928. Clothing for children’s first communion ceremony in a Christian church. Street level vitrine. Au Printemps department store.

Paris, France. Headshot of Charles Lindberg in wax by Siøgel in a scarf and leather jacket positioned atop an aerial view of Paris.

Paris, France. Headshot of Charles Lindberg in wax by Siegel in a scarf and leather jacket positioned atop an aerial view of Paris.

Therese Bonney mannequins

 

All photos by Bonney, Therese. 1925 – decorated with the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d’Honneur by the French government, and the Order of the White Rose of Finland for her intrepid reporting in World War 2

Therese Bonney photographs, 1925-1937 at The Smithsonian.

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