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Harlem Heroes: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten

  • Smithsonian American Art Museu 8th and F Streets NW Washington, DC 20004 (map)

At the height of the Harlem Renaissance, Carl Van Vechten (1880–1964) picked up a camera and discovered the power the photographic portrait has over the photographer himself. Through the decades, his fascination with the medium remained strong and he asked writers, musicians, athletes, politicians and others to sit for him—many of them central figures in the Harlem Renaissance whose accomplishments fueled not only the New Negro movement but also transformed the broader American culture throughout the 20th century. “Harlem Heroes: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten” features 39 of Van Vechten’s images, all works from the museum’s permanent collection. This is their first presentation as a whole since they were acquired.