Carl Van Vechten: Capturing the Era

Picture© Jorge Colombo, the New Yorker

In the articles about black authors of the mid-20th century, it is easy to notice a recurring tag accompanying all of their portraits: © Carl Van Vechten. Van Vechten was a critic and writer who was enamored with the Harlem Renaissance and became an important supporter of the works of many black musicians, artists and writers, particularly Langston Hughes (with whom he had very close friendship). The current issue of the New Yorker (February 17, 2014) has a fascinating article describing his influence and position in the black community and the controversy surrounding it, which you can read if you buy the issue or have a subscription. However, there is also a wonderful photo spread of his work complimenting the article that is not behind the pay wall. It includes portraits of eminent authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, W. E. B. DuBois, James Baldwin, Hughes and many others. Check it out here: New Yorker

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