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William Paul Gottlieb, 28 Jan 1917 - 23 Apr 2006  Search this
Duke Ellington, 29 Apr 1899 - 24 May 1974  Search this
Gelatin silver print
Image: 34.1 x 26.7 cm (13 7/16 x 10 1/2")
Sheet: 35.3 x 27.9 cm (13 7/8 x 11")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22")
c. 1946 (printed 1991)
Exhibition Label:
Duke Ellington was a jazz pianist and America’s greatest composer. He maintained his cool through an elegant aristocratic front that refused to recognize the country’s entrenched racism. Born and raised in the nation’s capital, Ellington established a national audience with a residency at Harlem’s Cotton Club. He wrote dance songs, three-minute concertos, spiritual works, thematic compositions about black life and culture, classics of the American songbook, and extended suites featuring Asian and Latin American motifs. His main instrument was his orchestra: he wrote for musicians as individuals. When he left space on the music score to improvise ("ad lib here"), he validated jazz as a democratic musical form. In 1965 he was denied a Pulitzer Prize by a judge who refused to give it to a black man. "Fate doesn’t want me to be famous too young," was his diplomatic reply. He is still worshipped by musicians the world over.
Costume  Search this
Music\Musical instrument\Piano  Search this
Printed Material\Document  Search this
Artwork\Photograph  Search this
Container\Bottle  Search this
Home Furnishings\Mirror  Search this
Interior\Dressing room  Search this
Music\Sheet music  Search this
Duke Ellington: Male  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Pianist  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz  Search this
Duke Ellington: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery