Wonderful Woman LC-0124

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This is a real woman and actress named Hedy Lamarr.

She is know as the most beautiful inventor of all time. She was born, November 9, 1914 as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler. An Austrian-born American film actress and inventor. After a brief film career in Czechoslovakia, she fled from her husband, a wealthy Austrian ammunition manufacturer with ties to Hitler, secretly moving to Paris. In 1937, she met Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM, who was in Europe scouting for talent. She became a very successful actress in America. She was also known as a Ziegfeld Girl. In 1941, she did a movie called “You stepped out of a dream”. This is where I got the inspiration for the painting.

But she was more than just a beauty. She was smart. Lamar, wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but was told by a member of the council she would be better off participating in a war bond selling campaign. She participated in a war bond-selling campaign with a sailor named Eddie Rhodes. Rhodes was in the crowd at each Lamarr appearance, and she would call him up on stage. She would briefly flirt with him before asking the audience if she should give him a kiss. The crowd would say yes, to which Hedy would reply that she would if enough people bought war bonds. After enough bonds were purchased, she would kiss Rhodes and he would head back into the audience. Then they would head off to the next war bond rally.

During World War II, Hedy learned that radio-controlled torpedoes, and emerging technology in naval war, could easily be jammed and set off course. She thought of creating a frequency-hopping signal that could not be tracked or jammed. She then contacted her friend, George Antheil, to help her develop a device for doing that, and he succeeded by synchronizing a miniaturized player piano mechanism with radio signals. They drafted designs for the frequency-hopping system, which they patented.

Finally their invention was granted a patent under US patent in August 11, 1942, however the technology was difficult to implement and the U. S. Navy was not receptive to considering inventions coming from outside of the military. In 1962, at least 20 years later an updated version of their design was finally used on Naval ships. That system eventually lead to modern wireless communications. Aka wifi, bluetooth, cell phones, and gps. She and Anthieil were not given the credit due.

In 1997, Lamarr and Antheil received the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and the Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze Award, given to individuals whose creative lifetime achievements in the arts, sciences, business or invention fields have significantly contributed to society.

In 2014, Lamarr and Antheil were posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

As you can see this woman was a force to be reckoned with…and that’s why I had to paint her.

 

Hedy Lamarr quotes:

“I’d rather wear jewels in my hair than anywhere else. The face should have the advantage of this brilliance.”

“A good painting to me has always been like a friend. It keeps me company, comforts and inspires.”

“Analysis gave me great freedom of emotions and fantastic confidence. I felt I had served my time as a puppet.”

“Perhaps my problem in marriage – and it is the problem of many women – was to want both intimacy and independence.”

 

painted on or about September 2017

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