Monday, June 17, 2013

Carl Van Vechten photographed celebs

It is the birthday of writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten (1880), who is best remembered for his photographs of celebrity writers, artists, singers and actors in the 1920s and 1930s. He was particularly fascinated with the leading figures in the Harlem Renaissance. Van Vechten worked as assistant music critic for The New York Times and later as its first modern dance critic. He wrote seven novels, including Peter Whiffle: His Life and Works (1922), The Blind Bow-Boy (1923), The Tattooed Countess (1924), Red (1925), Firecrakers: A Realistic Novel (1925), Nigger Heaven (1926), and Parties (1930). He met Gertrude Stein in Paris in 1913 and remained a lifelong friend. He became the literary executor of her estate and published some of her unpublished writings. Collections of his photographs are at Yale University, Fisk University, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Museum of the City of New York.

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