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Harlem Heroes: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC

NOW CLOSED

Author and social commentator Carl Van Vechten (1880–1964) began taking photographs in 1932. Over the next three decades he made portraits of writers, musicians, athletes, politicians and others, many of them central figures in the Harlem Renaissance, whose accomplishments dazzled contemporary audiences and, ultimately transformed American culture in the mid-twentieth century. Read more.

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Katherine Dunham, from the unrealized portfolio Noble Black Women: The Harlem Renaissance and After

Katherine Dunham, from the unrealized portfolio Noble Black Women: The Harlem Renaissance and After (1949, printed 1983), Carl Van Vechten. Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts, Photograph © Van Vechten Trust; Compilation/Publication © Eakins Press Foundation. From ‘O, Write My Name’: American Portraits, Harlem Heroes (Eakins, 2015)

Ruby Elzy, from the unrealized portfolio Noble Black Women: The Harlem Renaissance and After

Ruby Elzy, from the unrealized portfolio Noble Black Women: The Harlem Renaissance and After (1935, printed 1983), Carl Van Vechten. Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts, Photograph © Van Vechten Trust; Compilation/Publication © Eakins Press Foundation. From ‘O, Write My Name’: American Portraits, Harlem Heroes (Eakins, 2015)

Jacob Lawrence, from the portfolio O Write My Name: American Portraits, Harlem Heroes

Jacob Lawrence, from the portfolio O Write My Name: American Portraits, Harlem Heroes (1941, printed 1983), Carl Van Vechten. Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts, Photograph © Van Vechten Trust; Compilation/Publication © Eakins Press Foundation. From ‘O, Write My Name’: American Portraits, Harlem Heroes (Eakins, 2015)

Esther Perkins, from the unrealized portfolio Noble Black Women: The Harlem Renaissance and After

Esther Perkins, from the unrealized portfolio Noble Black Women: The Harlem Renaissance and After (1941, printed 1983), Carl Van Vechten. Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts, Photograph © Van Vechten Trust; Compilation/Publication © Eakins Press Foundation. From ‘O, Write My Name’: American Portraits, Harlem Heroes (Eakins, 2015)

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