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Catalog Data

Carl Van Vechten, 17 Jun 1880 - 21 Dec 1964  Search this
Langston Hughes, 1 Feb 1902 - 22 May 1967  Search this
Gelatin silver print
Image: 14.1 x 21.4cm (5 9/16 x 8 7/16")
Mat: 35.6 x 45.7cm (14 x 18")
Exhibition Label:
The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s was fueled by community and racial pride led by cultural leaders in African American society such as author and poet Langston Hughes. Born and raised in the Midwest, Hughes was educated at Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) after leaving Columbia University, in part because of its racism. He lived in Harlem for most of his life.
Artistically, Hughes anticipated black separatism (even black nationalism) in work that dealt with the desperate predicament of African Americans. Not simply despairing, his poetry insisted on the dignity and beauty of African Americans: "Beautiful, also, is the sun./Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people." Beset by the contradictions and difficulties of being a celebrated black artist and a cultural radical in a segregated society, Hughes kept his homosexuality publicly hidden, although it runs through his poetry in coded and oblique messages of loneliness and fulfillment.
Interior  Search this
Printed Material\Book  Search this
Costume\Dress Accessory\Tie\Necktie  Search this
Langston Hughes: Male  Search this
Langston Hughes: Literature\Writer\Poet  Search this
Langston Hughes: Literature\Writer\Librettist  Search this
Langston Hughes: Communications\Journalist\Columnist  Search this
Langston Hughes: Literature\Writer\Novelist  Search this
Langston Hughes: Communications\Translator  Search this
Langston Hughes: Literature\Writer\Playwright  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Prentiss Taylor
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© Carl Van Vechten Trust
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery