Marlene Dietrich

image for Marlene Dietrich
Exhibition Label
During World War II, Marlene Dietrich spent a total of eighteen months in Europe. Her frank memories of American soldiers—“They fought because they had been told to and had their eyes shot out and their brains, their bodies torn, their flesh burnt”—gave her a distinct gravity after the war that photographer Irving Penn captures here. For Dietrich’s service during the war, two American generals independently nominated her for the Medal of Freedom, which was awarded to her in 1947. Dietrich also received the French equivalent, la Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, that year. She valued these recognitions above any acting citations. From those World War II veterans entertained by Dietrich during the war to their children, who heard stories of Dietrich; from Germans unwilling to bend to the Nazi regime to the generations who have since extolled Dietrich for her anti-Nazi stance, Dietrich is remembered as a woman with an impeccable moral core.
Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, Marlene Dietrich pasó un total de dieciocho meses en Europa. Sus recuerdos de los soldados estadounidenses (“Luchaban porque seguían órdenes, y terminaban con disparos en los ojos, el cerebro y el cuerpo destrozados, la carne quemada”) le infundieron un aire de seriedad después de la guerra, captado aquí por el fotógrafo Irving Penn. Por su servicio durante la guerra, dos generales la nominaron para la Medalla de la Liberdad, la cual recibió en 1947. También recibió ese año el equivalente francés, la Orden Nacional de la Legión de Honor. Ella valoraba estos honores más que cualquier premio de actuación. Desde entonces, tanto los soldados a quienes llevó alegría y los hijos de estos, que escucharon las anécdotas sobre ella, como los alemanes que no se doblegaron ante el régimen nazi y las generaciones siguientes que la han elogiado por su postura antinazista, recuerdan a Dietrich como una mujer de impecable fibra moral.
Artist
Irving Penn, 16 Jun 1917 - 7 Oct 2009
Sitter
Marlene Dietrich, 27 Dec 1901 - 6 May 1992
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Irving Penn
Restrictions & Rights
© Conde Nast
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
1948
Object number
NPG.88.70.13
Topic
Interior
Marlene Dietrich: Female
Marlene Dietrich: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Theater
Marlene Dietrich: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Movie
Marlene Dietrich: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Violinist
Marlene Dietrich: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Portrait
Medium
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Image: 24.5 x 19.5 cm (9 5/8 x 7 11/16")
Sheet: 25.3 x 20.4 cm (9 15/16 x 8 1/16")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16")
National Portrait Gallery
Type
Photograph