Female Portrait Photographs by Carl Van Vechten

Carl Van Vechten (1880 – 1964) was an American writer and artistic photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein.

In the 1930s, Van Vechten began taking portrait photographs.

Among the many individuals he photographed were Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Theda Bara, Harry Belafonte, Leonard Bernstein,  Karen Blixen, Jane Bowles, Marlon Brando, Truman Capote, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Ella Fitzgerald, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Martha Graham, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Horst P. Horst, Mahalia Jackson, Frida Kahlo, Eartha Kitt, Henri Matisse, W. Somerset Maugham, Elsa Maxwell, Henry Miller, Joan Miró, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Diego Rivera, Gertrude Stein, James Stewart, Alfred Stieglitz, Gloria Vanderbilt, Gore Vidal, Evelyn Waugh, Orson Welles and Anna May Wong.

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Frida wearing a Tchuantepee gourd by Carl Van Vechten, 1932 via

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Tallulah Bankhead by Carl Van Vechten, 1934 via

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 Anna May Wong by Carl Van Vechten, 1935 via

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Josephine Baker by Carl Van Vechten via

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Gertrude Stein by Carl Van Vechten, 1935 via

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Lillian Gish by Carl Van Vechten, 1937 via

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Theda Bara by Carl Van Vechten, 1939 via

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Karen Blixen by Carl Van Vechten, 1959 via

Early 20th Century Couture by Mariano Fortuny (1871 – 1949)

Spanish-born artist and designer Mariano Fortuny (1871 – 1949) was active in Italy, where he established a textile workshop and a commercial silk printing factory. The multi-tasked artist spent most of his life in Venice where he was an architect, couturier, inventor and painter.

Working in the early 20th century, Fortuny’s gowns were especially popular among the avant garde women of ’20s and ’30s who were seeking both freedom of movement and a hint of exoticism in their wardrobe.

Fortuny rebelled against the style lines that were popular during his time period and created the Delphos gown, a shift dress made of finely pleated silk weighed down by glass beads that held its shape and flowed on the body. The pleating that he used was all done by hand and no one has been able to recreate pleating that is as fine as his or has held its shape like his dresses have for many years. He also manufactured his own dyes and pigments for his fabrics using ancient methods. With these dyes he began printing on velvets and silks and dyed them using a press that he invented with wooden blocks that he engraved the pattern onto. His dresses are seen as fine works of art today and many survive, still pleated, in museums and many people’s personal collections.

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Mrs. William Wetmore Modeling a Delphos Gown, Photograph by Lusha Nelson. Originally published in Vogue, December 15, 1935. via

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George Platt Lynes, Mai-Mai Sze, Dress by Mariano Fortuny, 1934 via

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Mariano Fortuny, Delphos Gown, 1920s via

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Mariano Fortuny, Lillian Gish in Delphos Gown, 1910s via

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Countess Elsie Lee Gozzi wearing an Eleanora dress, 1920s via

Collection of Vintage Celebrity Portraits by Baron Adolph de Meyer

Baron Adolph de Meyer (1868 – 1946) was a photographer famed for his elegant photographic portraits in the early 20th century, many of which depicted celebrities such as Mary Pickford, Rita Lydig, Luisa Casati, Billie Burke, Irene Castle, John Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Ruth St. Denis, King George V of the United Kingdom, and Queen Mary. He was also the first official fashion photographer for the American magazine Vogue, appointed to that position in 1913.

Today, few of his prints survive, most were destroyed during World War II

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Billie Burke by Baron Adolph de Meyer via

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 Ruth St. Denis in The Revelation of the Goddess from Omika by Baron Adolph de Meyer via

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Lillian Gish by Baron Adolph de Meyer via

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Irene Castle 1921 by Baron Adolph de Meyer via

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Mary Pickford Wedding Portrait by Baron Adolph de Meyer via

 

Portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati by Adolf de Meyer

Portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati by Baron Adolph de Meyer via

Old Hollywood Film Stars by Edward Steichen

Edward Jean Steichen (1879 – 1973) was an American photographer, painter, and art gallery and museum curator.

Steichen was the most frequently featured photographer in Alfred Stieglitz’ groundbreaking magazine Camera Work during its run from 1903 to 1917. Together Stieglitz and Steichen opened the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, which eventually became known as 291 after its address.

His photos of gowns for the magazine Art et Décoration in 1911 are regarded as the first modern fashion photographs ever published. From 1923 to 1938, Steichen was a photographer for the Condé Nast magazines Vogue and Vanity Fair while also working for many advertising agencies includingJ. Walter Thompson. During these years, Steichen was regarded as the best known and highest paid photographer in the world. In 1944, he directed the war documentary The Fighting Lady, which won the 1945 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

After World War II, Steichen was Director of the Department of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art until 1962. While at MoMA, he curated and assembled the exhibit The Family of Man, which was seen by nine million people

Gloria Swanson by Edward Steichen, 1924 via

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Anna Mae Wong by Edward Steichen, 1931 via

Marlene Dietrich by Edward Steichen, 1932 via

Joan Crawford in a dress by Schiaparelli, 1932; photo by Edward Steichen

Joan Crawford by Edward Steichen via

Lillian Gish by Edward Steichen, 1934 via

Greta Garbo by Edward Steichen, 1928 via