Search the Collection

Carl Van Vechten

(1880-1964), Critic, novelist and photographer

Artist of 13 portraits
American essayist and novelist of Nigger Heaven (1926); took up photography in 1932, aged 51, aiming to portray all the leading creative talent of his era. Worked in makeshift studio apartment with a Leica, using painted backdrops inspired by Matisse, took over 15,000 photographs (1932-64).

List Thumbnail

Edward McKnight Kauffer, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG P1125

Edward McKnight Kauffer

by Carl Van Vechten
vintage gelatin silver print, 27 May 1934
NPG P1125

Dame Rebecca West (Cicily Isabel Andrews (née Fairfield)), by Carl Van Vechten - NPG P1127

Dame Rebecca West (Cicily Isabel Andrews (née Fairfield))

by Carl Van Vechten
vintage gelatin silver print, 28 May 1934
NPG P1127

John Gielgud, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG P504

John Gielgud

by Carl Van Vechten
vintage print, 1936
NPG P504

Dame Myra Hess, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG P1124

Dame Myra Hess

by Carl Van Vechten
vintage gelatin silver print, 5 April 1937
NPG P1124

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG P1126

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier

by Carl Van Vechten
vintage gelatin silver print, 17 June 1939
NPG P1126

Elisabeth Welch, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG x131693

Elisabeth Welch

by Carl Van Vechten
cream-toned bromide print, 14 January 1933
NPG x131693

Elisabeth Welch, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG x131694

Elisabeth Welch

by Carl Van Vechten
cream-toned bromide print, 14 January 1933
NPG x131694

Elisabeth Welch, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG x131695

Elisabeth Welch

by Carl Van Vechten
cream-toned bromide print, 14 January 1933
NPG x131695

William Somerset Maugham, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG x135982

William Somerset Maugham

by Carl Van Vechten
cream-toned bromide print, 26 May 1934
NPG x135982

Cecil Beaton, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG x40474

Cecil Beaton

by Carl Van Vechten
vintage bromide print, late 1930s
NPG x40474

Cecil Beaton, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG x40473

Cecil Beaton

by Carl Van Vechten
vintage bromide print, late 1930s
NPG x40473

Christopher Isherwood, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG x131783

Christopher Isherwood

by Carl Van Vechten
chlorobromide print, 7 December 1951
NPG x131783

Patricia Neal; Roald Dahl, by Carl Van Vechten - NPG x194361

Patricia Neal; Roald Dahl

by Carl Van Vechten
bromide press print, 20 April 1954
On display in Room 31 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x194361

Tell us moreback to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your nameclose

If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.