Synopses & Reviews
Extravagant Crowd: Carl Van Vechten's Portraits of Women, the catalog for a Beinecke Library exhibition of the same name, includes photographs of about 85 women of achievement photographed by Van Vechten between 1932-1964; each photograph is accompanied by a short biography of the subject. The women include some of the best known of Van Vechten's subjects--Gertrude Stein, Billie Holiday, Zora Neale Hurston, and Marianne Moore to name a few--and some now-forgotten women who made significant contributions to the Broadway theater community, the Harlem Renaissance, the early Hollywood film industry, and the 1920s and '30s expatriate communities in Paris and London. The group includes performers of all kinds, writers, journalists, salon hostesses, artists, photographers, social activists, etc. The catalog includes an introduction by Bruce Kellner, a leading Harlem Renaissance scholar and the executor of Van Vechten's estate.
Carl Van Vechten, one of the most distinctive photographic portraitists of the 20th century captured the visages of the famous and the talented. This catalogue, issued to celebrate the 2003 exhibition, focuses on his photographs of extraordinary women in the arts. Over 80 women are pictured each accompanied by an original essay. From Mary Martin to Carson McCullers, from Billie Holiday to Pearl Bailey, many of the greatest American artists are shown in the prime of their careers.