Carl Van Vechten Self-Portrait, 1933

Silver gelatin self-portrait. 6.75 x 9 in, mounted to 8..5 x 11 in. Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964): New York, October 4, 1933. Signed ("Carl Van Vechten") in blue ink to lower right margin, verso with pencil inscription on verso with date and number "Ve." The photographer captures the back of his head as he sits in a somewhat tattered chair with a geometric patterned backdrop. 

Carl Van Vechten was well-connected to the people and places of the Harlem Renaissance at a time when racial segregation and Jim Crow laws were intense. Throughout the 1920s, he indulged in the parties and social scene of New York's Black creative class, which he captured in his provocatively titled novel Nigger Heaven. When the Depression came, he stopped writing novels and began taking photographs, most notably of influential African Americans, taking iconic portraits of thought leaders, entertainment stars, sports figures, artists, writers of the Harlem Renaissance, and more. His collection of over 9000 images, mostly portraits, is held at the Beinecke Library at Yale University.


Barely perceptible soiling to mount edges. 

Estimate: $800 - $1,200
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