Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964) Richmond Barthé, 1934
12019-08-27T10:46:09-07:00Lauren Cesirof37e4e52c3d9a4ff08b7937020ee9048f11c6739346707This image is featured in the exhibition, “not but nothing other: African American Portrayals, 1930s to Today.“ Hover over the highlighted rectangles for more information and links to related content.plain2019-09-04T11:25:32-07:00Gelatin silver print10 x 8 in.Fisk University Galleries, Nashville, TennesseeLauren Cesirof37e4e52c3d9a4ff08b7937020ee9048f11c6739
12019-09-03T18:33:01-07:00Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964) Richmond Barthé, 19345Label & Mediaplain2019-09-04T11:24:55-07:00 After being introduced to photography in the early 1930s, the writer Carl Van Vechten began making portraits of well-known actors, artists, musicians and writers. His career as a writer and critic, along with his wife Fania's connections to the acting world, gave him access to many prominent individuals. Given his particular interest in Black culture, many of Van Vechten's most familiar portraits are of artists and entertainers connected to the Harlem Renaissance.
Typically for Van Vechten, each sitter is captured in a bust- or half-length pose. Composition, lighting and expression were all meant to complement the traits of the person photographed. Composer and singer Cab Calloway, for example, appears in stage costume and exaggerated attitude, suggestive of the entertainer's extroverted, public persona. In contrast, Van Vechten highlights sculptor Richmond Barthé’s features as if he were one of his own artworks. Together, these five images compose a deeply sympathetic gallery of Black cultural luminaries of the 1930s.