Indepth Arts News: |
"Edward Steichen: Vanity Fair Portraits"
2001-07-27 until 2001-09-16
Frye Art Museum
In 1923, Vanity Fair heralded Edward Steichen (American, b. Luxembourg,
1879-1973) as the greatest living portrait photographer, and within
the year publisher Conde Nast appointed him as chief photographer
for the magazine. For the next thirteen years, Steichen was America's
premier photographer of style, taste, and stardom. His work at Vanity
Fair embraced numerous genres, but Steichen is best remembered for
creating many of the icons of his age - movie personalities - whose
likenesses in print and on screen helped to shape America's popular
In the Hollywood portraits, Steichen infused his imagery with theatrical
lighting and progressive ideals of design drawn from major art movements
of the day, such as the streamlined forms of art deco and the elemental
constructions of cubism. The men, including Fred Astaire and Charlie Chaplin,
boast all the genteel accoutrements of a refined elegance coupled with
robust individuality. And the women, among them Greta Garbo and Marlene
Dietrich, project a liberated, self-possessed demeanor. Steichen's original
portrait photographs of Hollywood celebrities are manifestations of the
American public's consuming fascination with celebrity and fame, both
then and now.
Hollywood Celebrity: Edward Steichen's Vanity Fair Portraits was organized by George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film with support from the Gannett Foundation.
Edward Steichen (1879-1973)
Gelatin silver contact print.
Coutesy of the
George Eastman House.
All rights reserved.