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Review: Black & Beautiful at Keith de Lellis Gallery

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 24, 2014

Through March 1, 2014

 

Wall Street Journal Review:

 

BLACK & BEAUTIFUL: 
A Group Exhibition Celebrating African-American Portraiture 

Review by WILLIAM MEYERS
 

"Few of the pictures in the exhibition of black portraits at de Lellis are well known, although many of the photographers and many of the subjects are. Recently there was a James Karales retrospective at the Howard Greenberg Gallery, but I do not recall ever seeing "Martin Luther King, Jr." (1962), a portrait he took in very dim light of the civil-rights leader talking to an unseen audience. Carl Van Vechten, the subject of a recent biography, is represented by portraits of dancer Geoffrey Holder, actor Paul Robeson, author Langston Hughes and, my favorite, an informal shot of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. The Life magazine photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt has a picture of a woman wearing a toque blanche, "Domestic Help at Redcliff Plantation" (1937). 

The portrait Robin Carson took in 1944 of Billie Holiday with a gardenia in her hair is better known than the one at de Lellis, circa 1936, but what a stunning woman she was, elegant with a simple pearl necklace, and intense even when not singing. Grace Jones was photographed by Anthony Barboza in 1972 in a close-up carefully lit to show the texture of her dark skin and have it meld seamlessly with the dark background. There are other "name" photographers, including Chester Higgins Jr., Wayne Miller and Doris Ulmann, and celebrity subjects such as Josephine Baker, Nat King Cole, Fats Domino and Ethel Waters, but work by less well-known artists adds considerably to this group show, too."  

 

 

 

More information on the exhibition at Leith de Lellis Gallery.

 

New York Photo Review 

 

Image Information:

Robin Carson - Billie Holiday - c. 1936

Courtesy of Keith de Lellis Gallery


Tags:  Black & Beautiful  Keith De Lellis Gallery 

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