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Indepth Arts News:

"Edward Steichen: Vanity Fair Portraits"
2001-07-27 until 2001-09-16
Frye Art Museum
Seattle, WA, USA

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 culture.

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.

IMAGE:
Edward Steichen (1879-1973)
Fred Astaire,1927.
Gelatin silver contact print.
Coutesy of the George Eastman House.
All rights reserved.


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