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Catalog Data

James Fitzgerald, 1899 - 1971  Search this
John Steinbeck, 27 Feb 1902 - 20 Dec 1968  Search this
Charcoal on paper
Sheet: 61 × 48.2 cm (24 × 19")
Frame: 87.6 × 77.3 × 4.4 cm (34 1/2 × 30 7/16 × 1 3/4")
Exhibition Label:
Born Salinas, California
Although he was a great contributor to American literature, John Steinbeck retreated from fame. This portrait of the author by James Fitzgerald was executed in 1935, the same year that Steinbeck’s first commercially successful novel, Tortilla Flat, was published. Steinbeck claimed to be “scared to death of popularity,” saying “it has ruined everyone I know.” In the 1930s and 1940s, both Steinbeck and Fitzgerald belonged to a loosely organized group of artists, writers, and intellectuals in Monterey, California. Although they often argued violently, both men respected each other’s talent and shied away from public recognition. Steinbeck’s famed novels Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Grapes of Wrath (1939) earned him even more acclaim, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. Fitzgerald expresses Steinbeck’s reclusive personality by casting half of the author’s face in dark shadow.
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Chair  Search this
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Mustache  Search this
John Steinbeck: Male  Search this
John Steinbeck: Communications\Journalist\Reporter\Newspaper  Search this
John Steinbeck: Literature\Writer\Novelist  Search this
John Steinbeck: Communications\Journalist\Correspondent  Search this
John Steinbeck: Nobel Prize  Search this
John Steinbeck: Pulitzer Prize  Search this
John Steinbeck: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar F. Hubert
Object number:
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National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
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Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery