A Gay-Oriented Collection of Art Works, Literary Quotes, Songs, Films, Cubs, Otters, and Other Guys. Please be aware thet there is mature content on this blog. Information and links to sources will be provided unless unknown. Enjoy your visit.
Born in the Son Duong district of Vietnam in 1987, Dương Xuân Quyền is an artist and educator currently working at Tan Trao University in Tuyen Quang, Vietnam. He is a graduate of the Fine Arts Program at the Hanoi National University of Education.
Dương Xuân Quyền works in the Vietnamese tradition of carved-woodblockprinting on black paper as a familiar way to express the contemporary issue of gay relationships to the public. Having produced the initial print work, Quyền then enriches the image with colors from acrylic or oil paints. His current work contains images of male couples as well as lush, tropical scenes of natural habitat.
From 2011 to 2015, Quyền regularly participated in the Northwest-Viet Bac Exhibition, one of the seven regional contemporary art exhibitions in the country. He also organized a 2015 group exhibition entitled “Sac Autumn” at Hanoi’s Exhibition Hall 16 in Ngo Quyen.
Dương Xuân Quyền had his first solo exhibition in 2017 entitled “Love People of the Same Sex”, a collection consisting of twenty-two paintings and embellished wood-carved etchings on paper. In his work, he used tropical foliage and water taro leaves as the background for his presentations of male couples in romantic poses.
In 2020, Quyền won the Third-Place Prize at the Northwestern Fine Arts Exhibition-Region III exhibition for his series “Delayed Appointment I,II,III”. In 2021, he again entered the same exhibition and won another Third-Place Prize, this time for his series “My Side Tells Stories About the Days Apart I, II, III”. Quyền’s second solo exhibition was held in Hanoi in 2022 and entitled “Vertical Flowers”. The show consisted of twenty-eight, large oil and acrylic paintings which depicted Duoc Mung leaves, a native plant well-known to the public.
Insert Image: Dương Xuân Quyền, “Awakening Lovers”, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 80 x 100 cm, Private Collection
Born in Manhattan, New York in 1948, David Lebe is an Americanphotographer whose work includes both figurative and still life images. His initial education began at the progressive, elementary-level City & Country School in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and later at Harlem’s High School of Music and Art. During these years, Lebe frequently visited New York City’s many art museums, particularly drawn to the Museum of Modern Art’s photographic exhibitions. His exposure to the photographs of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank, among others, generated a life-long passion for street photography.
David Lebe is best known for his experimental images. Among the techniques used are pinhole cameras, photograms made by placing objects directly on photographic paper and then exposing it to light, hand-painted photographs, and light drawings, an old technique which entails using a moving light source during a long-exposure photograph. In his photography, Lebe explores the issues of gay identity, homoeroticism, and living with AIDS.
From 1966 to 1970, David Lebe attended the Philadelphia College of Art where he studied photography under Ray K. Metzker, known for his bold experimental, black and white cityscapes; Tom Porett, who pioneered work in the extended photograph, multi-media and digital photographic processes: and Barbara Blondeau, best known for her strip-print images created through different winding speeds, and various lighting and masking techniques.
Duringhis studies with Barbara Blondeau in 1969 and 1970, Lebe began to experiment with pinhole cameras and built his own devices with multiple apertures which enabled him to record panoramic views from different angles. For his senior thesis, he created “Form Without Substance”, a series of high-contrast images with strong black shadows which were taken in Philadelphia and his childhood area of Manhattan.Two years after graduation, Lebe accepted a teaching position at the Philadelphia College of Art, where he taught photography until 1990. During his tenure, he exhibited his photography in private galleries and museums.
A dissatisfaction with the results of color film printing led David Lebe to begin hand-coloring his gelatin silver prints, photograms and pinhole images, and traditional photographs. His first collection of these works was the 1974-75 “Unphotographs”, a series of meticulously hand-painted portraits and self-portraits. After the purchase of a townhouse and studio space in Philadelphia, Lebe began to create several series of photograms using plant material collected from his gardens and country excursions. His “Specimens” series featured plants, bones and other material combined into hybrid forms; the “Garden Series” contained images of plant material dissected and reassembled; “Landscapes” placed the hybrid forms in hand-painted settings.
In early 1976 still living in a cramped apartment in Philadelphia, Lebe created his first black and white light drawing . Standing before a 35mm camera on a tripod, he made a long exposure using a flashlight to draw an outline of his naked body and embellished it with points and lines of light throughout the room. This technique, originally used by photographers Étienne-Jules Marey and Georges Demeny in the 1800s, developed over time to include other people, objects and their surroundings. The long exposure time allowed Lebe to enter these images with his subjects and create events rather than moments of time.
In 1987, following the death of a friend from AIDS and just before his own HIV diagnosis, David Lebe produced “Scribbles”, abstract images drawn freehand with a flashlight and which often featured light emerging from a glass vase. In 1989, David Lebe began a series of four shoots depicting adult film star and author Scott O’Hara. These sessions contained both nude and erotic images which, while documenting the effects of AIDS on O’Hara’s body, also presented his determination to embrace his personal sexual pleasure.
In 1989, Lebe met the ceramic artist and horticulturist Jack Potter. The two began a relationship that has continued to endure for over thirty years. Both men were HIV-positive when they met. They altered their lifestyle, their eating habits, and moved to the rural Columbia County of New York in 1993. The transition from city to country life inspired Lebe to create the still-life series “Food for Thought”, arrangements of various vegetables and foods shot against black background, sometimes with spirals of light around them.
Despite their efforts at a healthy diet and lifestyle, both David Lebe and Jack Potter began to decline in their health in the mid-1990s. In 1994, Lebe documented his lover Jack’s daily self-care regimen with a series of small, intimate black and white portraits. In his 1996-97 “Jack’s Garden”, he made detailed studies of the gardens Potter had cultivated on the property. In 1996, Lebe and Potter began the newly designed combination-drug therapy that was showing success in extending the lives of HIV-positive patients.
By 2004, David Lebe fully embraced digital photography and continued to photograph the environment around his and Jack’s home. He also began making new color prints of older work, including his early pinhole prints. In 2013, he started his ongoing series “ShadowLife”, images of shadows and reflections illuminated by early morning light streaming through the house’s windows, thus continuing his earlier studies of shadows. In May of 2019, Lebe had his first solo museum exhibition, “Long Light”, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which featured one hundred-forty five images spanning five decades. The exhibition represented both a historic achievement for an artist with AIDS and an important resistance to the dangerous tendency to historicize the disease.
David Lebe’s photography can be found in many private and public collections, which include, among others, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California; the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City; Houston’s Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe’s New Mexico History Museum, the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and a major collection of his work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Images of David Lebe’s work, prints for sale, and quotes from Lebe can be found at the artist’s site located at: https://davidlebe.com
Top Insert Image: David Lebe, “Unzippered, Paul, Philadelphis”, 1981, Light Drawomg Series, Silver Gelatin Print
Second Insert Image: David Lebe, “Self Portrait, Philadelphia”, 1981, Hand-Colored Light Drawing, Silver Gelatin Print
Third Insert Image: David Lebe, “Socks, (Renato, Philadelphia)”, 1983, Hand-Colored Light Drawing, Silver Gelatin Print
Lee Thomas, “Time Equals 36 Exposures (Negative and Positive Sections)”, 1971, Printed 1989, 72 Gelatin Silver Prints Total, Each Section of 36 Clocks 122 x 122 cm Framed, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Born in San Francisco, California in 1932, Lew Thomas was an Americanphotographer, polymath artist, curator, critic and a bookstore manager. He is one of the most well-known conceptual photographers of the 1970s, a pioneer in the field whose photographic experiments created new possibilities for Conceptual art.
Thomas, who had firm working knowledge of art philosophy and theory, actually rejected the term ‘conceptual photographer’. He struggled to gain acceptance for his work as there was not a broad understanding of photographers who were working conceptually within the photo community. As photography was still seen as separate from fine art, the art world was not accepting those photographers who were grounded in that practice.
Lew Thomas, as a child, developed a love for books and language, a trait which would later influence the basics of his art practice. He attended the University of San Francisco where he graduated in 1960 with a degree in English Literature.In 1964, Thomasbecame the manager of the Patrons of Art and Music Bookshop where he stayed until 1982. During this time, he developed his interest in photography and French Structuralism, a school of thought developed by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, in which cultures are viewed as systems and analyzed in terms of the structural relationships of their components.
Thomas initially studied under Joe Schopplein, a photographer with San Francisco’s de Young Museum, who taught him the techniques of shooting and printing film. Throughout his work, Thomas continued to investigate the relationship between word and image. Instead of being concerned about the aesthetic or psychological content of the image, he emphasized the capacity of a photograph to provide simple evidence of an image’s underlying structure. His art was a meticulous study of creating pictorial responses to understand how the meanings of words are conceived through their relationship with other words- a relationship without which they would have little significance.
Lew Thomas’s seminal work was the 1971 “Black & White”, a vertical diptych of photographs in which the word ‘black’ is printed in white on a black background above a print of the word ‘white’ on a black background. This breakthrough work was followed in 1972 with ”Opening & Closing the Garage Door”, which featured two vertical photo strips of a figure performing that routine. Although seeming quite simple on the surface, these two artworks by Lee Thomas were supported by his studies in structural linguistics, including his observations of his daughter’s speech development.
Thomas was also interested in the concept of time’s passage and how devices such as clocks form our relationships to it. In 1971, he created “Time Equals 36 Exposures (Negative and Positive Sections)”, a set of thirty-six exposures of a black clock shot at various times during the day, accompanied by an equal in size set of exposures of a white clock taken at the same times. For his 1973 “Light-On-Floor”, Thomas again used a six by six grid of thirty-six exposures to show the passing of a day as light shifts across a linoleum floor.
Starting in the early 1970s, Lew Thomas’s artwork began to be shown at major venues, including the Oakland Art Museum in 1972, San Francisco’s de Young Museum in 1974, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, among others. Thomas’s work, along with the work of conceptual photographers Donna-Lee Phillipsand Hal Fischer, was shown in the 2020 “Thought Pieces” exhibition held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. These three photographers became the co-founders of the “Photography and Language” movement, named after a book and group exhibition of the same name produced by Thomas in 1976.
Thomas, Phillips and Fischer were all extremely active in the mid to late 1970s. In addition to making their own artwork, they published essays, reviewed shows and organized exhibitions. Under the name NFS Press, Thomas published a number of books designed by Phillips, including the 1978 “Structural(ism) and Photography” which featured Thomas’s work; “Eros and Photography” edited by Phillips and published in 1977; “Gay Semiotics” published in 1978; and the 1979 “18th Near Castro Street x 24”, a print version which paired young, gay Hal Fischer’s twenty-four hour study of a popular bus stop bench in the Castro district of San Francisco with texts drawn by him on the sidewalk every hour.
Lew Thomas, in addition to producing his art, engaged in the San Francisco art scene where he encouraged and debated fellow artists through salons, panel discussions, and workshops. He edited and published over thirty books and organized legendary exhibitions in California. The “Photography and Language” movement Thomas co-founded attracted many rising artists, including Dennis Adams, Peter d’Agostino, Meyer Hirsch and Cindy Sherman, among others. The work of this group exerted an influence beyond California and played a role in the conceptual photographic work of the 1980s.
In 1985 Thomas relocated from San Francisco to Houston, Texas, where he served as the Executive Director of the Houston Center of Photography until 1987. Hisartwork of the 1980s explored filmic representation, photography and human relationships as mediated through new technology, in particular, the newly popular VCR. From 1989 to 1995, Lew Thomas was the Visual Arts Coordinator at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. His work in this period was exhibited at New Orlean’s Galerie Simonne Stern. In retirement, Lew Thomas moved to Petaluma, CA, where he lived surrounded by family and friends until his death in August of 2021 at the age of eighty-eight
Carlos Cancio, “Los Bañistas (The Bathers)”, 1989-1990, Acrylic on Paper Laid on Canvas, 230.9 x 175 cm, Private Collection
Carlos Cancio is a Cotemporary Puerto Rican artist; specialized in painting. After graduating from the University of Boston with a degree in fine arts, Cancio moved to Spain, where he set up his first studio. From 1991 to 2003, he lived in San Francisco, California; he currently lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cancio has traveled extensively, including India where he became more familiar with that country’s art and culture.
Cancio began to show his work professionally in 1981, and has presented his work in several cities in the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. He has had solo shows at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 1987, the Museum of Art and History in San Juan in 1988, and the Museo de las Casas Reales Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic in 2004. Cancio has also taken part in group shows in the United States and Puerto Rico. His work is characterized by his poetic style, the use of figuration and its inclusion of pan-Caribbean motifs.
Born in Kingston, New York in 1978, Elijah Burgher is an American artist who produces both figurative and abstract colored pencil drawings, paintings and prints of sigils. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and his Master of Fine Arts at Chicago’s Art Institute. Burgher currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. His work is represented by the Horton Gallery in Dallas, New York’s contemporary PPOW Gallery, and Western Exhibitions in Chicago.
In his work, Elijah Burgher uses ideas from occult and magic traditions to address queer sexuality, sub-cultural formations, and the history of abstraction. He also creates sigils, symbols of magical power, inspired by different esoteric systems, including the works of English illustrator and occultist Austin Osman Spare, who trained as a draughtsman at the Royal College of Art in South Kensington. Burgher’s sigils encode symbols of wishes and desires through their shape, and the compositions of their elements and color.
Burghers colored pencil drawings of nude male figures, often featuring images of friends,illustrate scenes from his daily life and environment. Acting as ritual relics, they have an erotic quality that anchors their abstract components into reality.
Elijah Burgher had solo exhibitions of his work in several galleries including the 2018 “Nudes inthe Forest” at the Ivan Gallery in Bucharest, Romania; “Bachelors” at New York’s Zieher Smith and Horton Gallery in 2016; and “Elijah Burgher, Topple the Table of Correspondences’ in 2011 at 2nd Floor Projects in San Francisco, among others. As a resident artist at Western Exhibitions in Chicago, Burgher has had several solo exhibitions in its gallery from 2012 to 2020.
Burgher has also shown his work in multiple group exhibitions from 2000 to 2021, including the 2014 Gwangin Biennial, Asia’s most important contemporary art exhibition which was held in the Republic of Korea; New York City’s 2014 Whitney Biennial; “The Temptation of AA Bronson” exhibition held in 2013 at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Netherlands; the 2020 “intimacy: New Queer Art from Berlin and Beyond” held at the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva, Switzerland; and “Secret Language” held in 2021 at the Ivan Gallery in Bucharest, among others.
In 2011, Elijah Burgher held a Residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in New York City and a Fire Island Artist Residency in Long Island, New York.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky in March of 1892, Charles Dean Cornwell was an illustrator and muralist who was a dominant presence in American illustration during the first half of the twentieth- century. He began his professional career at the age of eighteen as a cartoonist for the Louisville Herald. In 1911, Cornwell found employment with the art department of the Chicago Tribune and began studies at the Chicago Art Institute where he studied under educator and painter Harvey Dunn, a prominent student of illustrator Howard Pyle and a member of the Brandywine School collective.
In 1915, Dean Cornwell traveled to New Rochelle, New York, well known for its established art colony, and studied under Dunn at the Art Students League in New York City where he eventually developed his own light-imbued style. In 1918 in Chicago, Cornwell married artist Mildred Montrose Kirkham, who also studied at the Chicago Art Institute. They had two children; however, due to Cornwell’s constant extramarital affairs, they separated after a few years but never divorced.
Possessing a strong work ethic, Cornwell often worked seventeen hours a day and through the entire week. His illustrations appeared in nearly every major publication in the United States including Redbook, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. In 1926, Cornwell signed a long-term contract with Cosmopolitan for an annual salary of one-hundred thousand dollars, equivalent to over a million dollars today.
Dean Cornwell illustrated the novels of authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Pearl S. Buck, W. Somerset Maugham, andshort story writer Edna Ferber. He also illustrated posters to support the United States war efforts in three major conflicts, the Korean War effort and both the first and second World Wars. Through his career, Cornwelldid advertising for hundreds of companies including General Motors, the Pennsylvania Railroad, Goodyear, and New York Life; he also illustrated ads for such products as Coca-Cola, Seagram’s Gin, and Palmolive Soap.
Deciding to dedicate the rest of his career to mural painting, Cornwelltraveledto London in 1927, where he apprenticed to the painter Sir Frank William Brangwyn for a three-year study of mural painting. He assisted Brangwyn in a series of murals, including the British Empire Panels designed for the House of Lords. These panels, begun in 1925 and completed in 1932, were not hung in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords as intended. Considered too lively and colorful, the panels were housed in a specially built hall in Swansea.
The most renowned of Dean Cornwell’s murals is the Los Angeles Public Library’stwelve-panel “History of California” which encircles the Grand Rotunda. Painted on linen canvases and finished in 1933,the forty-foot tall panels took five years to complete. Cornwell, having used all the funding after two years, took on illustrative work to finance the project to its completion. His other murals include, among others, those for the General Motors exhibition at the 1939 World’s Fair, New York’s Hotel Warwick’s Raleigh Room, the Easter Airlines building (now 10 Rockefeller Plaza), Boston’s New England Telephone headquarters building, and the William Rappard Center in Geneva, Switzerland.
Cornwell lectured and taught at New York’s Art Students League. From 1922 to 1926, he served as the president of the Society of Illustrators and was elected into its Hall of Fame in 1959. Cornwall was elected in `923 into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academician and achieved full status in 1940. He served as President of the National Society of Mural Painters for four years beginning in 1953. Charles Dean Cornwell died at the age of sixty-eight in New York City on December 4th of 1960. A collection of his papers, correspondence, sketches, scrapbooks and photographs are housed in the Archives of American Art located in the Victor Building in Washington, DC.
Born in the Ardennes region between France and Belgium in 1968, Benoit Prévot is a French illustrator and comic artist. A graduate of EMSAT, he has worked at various design and advertising studios. Prévot received formal training at the CFT Gobelins, a Paris school for visual communication and the arts,after which he worked on several animated television series. Throughout his career, he has created artwork for comic books and fanzines, as well as illustrated book covers and promotional posters.
Prévot’s more current and personal work, reminiscent of illustrations produced in the 1920s, often displays a stylish homoerotic atmosphere. Although his favorite medium is ink and graphite on paper, Prévot has also produced works with watercolors and oil paints.
Benoit Prévot is the writer and illustrator for Class Comics’s “Angelface”, a graphic novel series set in the 1920’s era of prohibition, which was epitomized by that era’s illicit liquor bars, swing music, and loose morals. The illustrated series combines the elegance of that era with Prévot’s stylish homoeroticism. The story of Alan, known as Angelface, and his lover Red conjures up the glamour of upper-class wealth and Trans-Atlantic ocean liner travel as well as the grime of the working class world which Alan and Red want to escape.
Prévot’s work has been shown at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City and has been shown regularly at the Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festivals. Issues of the graphic novel “Angelface” were donated in 2011 to the Tom of Finland Foundation. Benoit Prévot currently lives and works in Paris.
Bottom Insert Image: Benoit Prévot, “Décolleté”, Date Unknown
Born in February of 1987 in the northern city of Nadym, Igor Sychev is a Russian artist known for his Magic-Realistic figurative paintings. At the age of five years having shown an inclination towards the arts, his parents enrolled him in the city’s art school where he studied until the age of sixteen. Sychev left Nadym upon graduation and relocated to Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, where he entered the Faculty of Industrial Design at the State Academy of Architecture, Design and Fine Arts.
After graduating from the Academy in 2010, Sychev moved to Moscow, which as Russia’s capital offered wider prospects for a career and self-expression. He soon obtained employment as an industrial designer and created designs for furniture and interior spaces. In 2011 while working in the design field , Sychev begana personal study of oil painting techniques. Over the next ten years, Igor Sychev gradually redirected his energies into pursuing a career as a painter.
In addition to the primary medium of oil paints, Igor Sychev also produces works in the mediums of watercolor, pencil, sepia and charcoal. His work is inspired by the works of the recognized Master artists , such as Michelangelo’s “David”, who viewed the nude male body as a source of beauty, Other influences on Sychev’s work include the paintings of Lucian Freud and Egon Schiele, the large-scale expressive paintings of Paolo Troilo, painter Gregory Little’s boldly colored figures in everyday scenes,and Portuguese painter Carlos Barahona Possollo’s male nude paintings.
As the present politics and attitudes in Russian are predominantly homophobic, Igor Sychev has not been able to exhibit in galleries or museums. He holds his private exhibitions in establishments offered by friends. Sychev’s work is held in many private collections throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, and South Africa, among others.
Images of Igor Sychev’s paintings, watercolors and drawings, as well as contact information, can be found at the artist’s website located at: https://www.igorsychev.com
Bottom Insert Image: Igor Sychev, “Concrete Colours” Sketch, Date Unknnown, White/Black Pencil and Pen on Paper, Artist Collection (Available)
Born in New York City in 1968, Gabrielle Garland is an American painter whose work is centered on the elements of architecture, space, and design. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned her MFA from the University of Chicago. The daughter of artistic parents, Garland was influenced by her early participation in her mother’s profession of decorative painting. She currently resides in New York’s East Village and maintains a studio in Brooklyn.
For the last decade, Garland has been creating a series of images based on rural American architecture. These surreal portraits of houses and apartments, devoid of people, feature exterior views seen from the street and interior scenes arranged with personal domestic furnishings. Executed with a bold palette, the paintings show a fluid, elastic perspective, often containing oblique angles, which gives each home a unique personality. Lacking distinctive architectural features or indications of geographical locations, these anthropomorphic structures could stand anywhere.
Gabrielle Garland has exhibited her work in many group and solo exhibitions at both galleries and public spaces. These include multiple solo shows at the Hap Gallery in Portland, Oregon; the 2014 exhibition at Chicago’s Logan Center; the 2015 group show at MoMA’s Clemente Soto Vélex Cultural Center; multiple showings at Expo Chicago curated by Corbett vs Dempsey; the 2018 Campbell Project Space exhibition in Sydney, Australia; the 2017 Postcards from the Edge: Benefit for Visual Aids held in New York City; and “Chasing Phantoms”, a group show in 2022 at The Pit in Los Angeles, among others.
In addition to her paintings, Garland produced in 2014 the limited edition, black and white “Gabrielle Garland: Coloring Book”, created from a series of her drawings that became paintings of artists’ spaces.
Gabrielle Garland’s website, which contains images of both paintings and drawings, as well as upcoming exhibitions and contact information, can be found at: http://www.gabriellegarland.org
Top Insert Image: Gabrielle Garland, “Untitled 160”, 2020, Acrylic on Canvas over Panel, 55.9 x 68.5 cm
Bottom Insert Image: Gabrielle Garland, Untitled 63 (Green Coffee Table), Oil on Panel, 40.6 x 50.8 cm,
Orla Muff, “Nana”, 1934, Oil on Canvas, 45.1 x 55.3 cm, Private Collection
Born in April of 1903 in Copenhagen, Orla Andreas Heinrik Jacobsen was a Danish painter and illustrator. From 1917 to 1921, he received his formal art education at the Copenhagen Technical School under Carl Lund, the leading theatrical artist of the time. In 1917, he adopted a change in name to Orla Muff.
In 1918, Muff was awarded a distinguished seat at the Day’s Drawing Concourse, an event held by Children’s Aid, and had his firstdrawing printed on a postcard. In the same year he drew one hundred different illustrations depicting gnomes for a series of postcards, which was released in large editions several times. Muff’s illustrationsfor the early postcards were signed with an intertwined O and J standing for Orla Jacobsen. He continued to design postcards until the late 1960s; these later works were signed with Orla Muff.
After his studies with Carl Lund, Orla Muff began a period of travel through Europe where he studied in Sweden, Holland, France and Germany. He achieved acclaim early in his career as a designer of elaborate Art Deco styled sets for prominent European revues and theatrical productions. Included among these designs were sets for performances at Copenhagen’s Folk Theater, Austrian-born theatrical producer Max Reinhardt’s Theater in Berlin, and Norway’s Mayol Theater in Oslo.
In addition to his set designs, Muff began easel painting in the early 1930s; he created portraits, figurative works, and abstract paintings. His work is characterized by a refined sophistication and a predominantly light-toned color scale. Muff’s abstract compositions, executed in the styles of the Art Deco and Cubist movements, often contain mythologically inspired figures set in largely monochromatic backgrounds.
Painted in his early thirties, Orla Muff’s 1934 “Nana” is an Art Deco derived, Expressionist oil portrait of a young, high-spirited woman, shown smoking a cigarette and set against a mottled turquoise background. Muff’s use of strong lighting effects produced a dramatic and psychologically penetrating portrait of this young woman.
During the course of his career, Orla Muff exhibited successfully in many European exhibitions and was the recipient of juried awards and prizes. Among his notable works are “Leda and the Swan” exhibited in 1940; the 1940 oil on canvas “Tropical Jungle Women”; a 1947 series of wooden sculptural figures based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales;a 1957 series of illustrations from the Bible for use in films; and posters, costume designs, and theater decorations executed in 1921 and 1922for performances of Anderson’s tales at the Mayol Theater in Oslo.
Orla Muff died in the city of Copenhagen in December of 1984. A small collection of personal correspondence from Orla Muff to Dr. Raymond Piper, as well as a photo of the artist and photos of Muff’s artwork, can be found in the Special Collections of the University of West Georgia.
Born in Paris in 1981, Adrien Pelletier is a French painter whose work focuses on the art of portraiture. He earned his Bachelor of FineArts inGraphic Design at Paris’s Central Saint Martins in 2004 and his Master of Fine Arts at London’s Royal College of Arts in 2006. Pelletier also studied graphic design history and semiotics at Ecole Estienne in Paris. He has held the position of art director for many years at fashion magazines based in Paris and London.
For his Bachelor of Arts graphic design dissertation at Central Saint Martins in 2004, Adrien Pelletier produced “SWAG: The Talent of the Others”.The home-printed book was a collection of fictional interviews around the theme of borrowing from others. The research investigated various dialectic oppositions, such as original versus copy, authentic versuss fake, author versus artist, legal versus legitimate, authority versss integrity, and the concept of you versus me.
Executed in the mediums of acrylic or gouache, Pelletier’s worksare intimate portraits of strangers, friends and lovers who are situated in outdoor or personal interior settings. These compositions, either innocent or sexual in nature, are painted using bold and complimentary colors in a straightforward, naive style. Pelletier uses personal photographs of people in his life as references for his work. His first exhibition in Paris was as part of Exposition Collective Libre N. 2 held at the 3537 Gallery in March of 2022.
At the invitation of Jean Pierre Blanc, the director of the arts centerLa Villa Noaillees, Pelletier began in 2017 an Art Residency on the Île du Levant off the coast of the French Riviera. While there, he painted a series of forty-five portraits of the residents of the island’s naturalist village, a society of independent individuals who shun cars and clothes.
In Pelletier’s Despina residency project, a more documentary approach was developed in which he often combined interviews with the portraiture. The project was to portray the cultural resistance to the political far-right movement and the possibilities of interactions among local communities. Portraits of activists, artists, intellectuals and people on the street were combined with dialogues on the environment, the rights of the individual, LBGTQ issues, and the protection of the indigenous Amazon communities.
Middle Insert Image: Adrien Pelletier, “Andreas à Athènes”, 2021, Paris, Gouache on Paper, 15 x 20 cm
Bottom Insert Image: Adrien Pelletier, “Mathias”, 2022, “To Paint is to Love Again” Series, Paris, Acrylic on Canvas, 75 x 50 cm
Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1947, André Durandis a Canadian photographer and painter of Irish ancestry who works within the European Hermetic tradition. At the age of seventeen, he left Canada with his wife Ludmilla to emigrate to Europe. Through its history, Hermeticism was closely associated with the idea of a primeval, divine wisdom that was revealed to ancient sages. Hermeticism remains influential within esoteric Christianity, particularly in theChristian mystical tradition of Maartinism. The anonymously written 1967 French tome “Meditations on the Tarot”, later edited and published by Robert Powell in 1980, summarizes the theory and practices of Christian Hermeticism.
Best known for his allegorical portraits of such figures as Princess Diane, Durand’s mythologically inspired paintings are the foundation of his work. These pieces display his deep understanding of the rituals and myths of both Christian and Classical traditions. Influenced by Michelangelo, Rubens and Titian, Durand tries to unite his religion with his art; however, he approaches the subject with the objective and philosophical criteria of a Neo-modernist.
In 1970 André Durand painted a series of images inspired by the dancers of the British Royal Ballet. His 1972 portrait of Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen, whose work often bears heavily on the psychology of its characters, is housed in London’s National Portrait Gallery. Durandhas also received international acclaim for his official portraits of Pope John Paul II and the fourteenth Dalai Lama.
In 2000, Durand became artist in residence at London’s Kingston Upon Thames University. A major exhibition in 2006, entitled “Durand Wholly Pictures” and whichcovered six years of work, was displayed in churches and cathedrals in the county of Sussex. These works depicted devotional Christian narratives set in traditionalSussex landscapes. In November of 2007, André Durand produced his oil on linen “Daniel in the Lions’ Den”; the sale of the painting and its limited edition prints benefited the Demelza Hospice Care for Children, a charity in Kent that provides support to life-limited children and their families.
After his return to Italy, André Durand visited the commune of Torre del Greco in Naples and the coastal town of Sperlonga, known for its sculptures and Roman sea grotto at the Villa of Tiberius. At the invitation of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Sperlonga, he opened a studio at the museum as artist in residence for two years. From 2010 to 2012, Durand began a series of round formal paintings on the subject of the Stations of the Resurrection, many of which contain the Grotto of Tiberius in the background.
Durand published several art photography volumes of his work in 2012. Most notable among them is the “Fotograf ando Statue per Anno”, an image collection of the statuary in Sperlonga’s National Archeological Museum. Containing text co-written by the museum’s director Marisa de’Spagnolls, this volume of sculptural work is the only comprehensive photographic archive of the museum’s collection.
André Durand’s work has been featured in many solo exhibitions in Italy and England. These include, among others, “Frammenti Classici” in 1995 at London’s Archeus Fine Art; the 2000 “Soggetti Italianizzati” at the Galleria Albemarle in London; and “Via Lucis e Lagrime di San Pietro” at Galleria Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Durand’s work is in many private collections and the permanent collections of the Scottish National Gallery and London’s National Portrait Gallery. He currently lives and works in Sperlonga, Italy.
Images of André Durand’s work, a manifesto on Neo-modernism, enquiries for commissions, and contact information can be found at the artist’s site: http://andredurandportraits.com
Second Insert Image: André Durand, “Saint Christopher Cynocephalus”, 2010, “Sacred” Series, Oil on Linen, 167.5 x 112 cm
Third Insert Image: André Durand, “Narcissus”, 2001, “Mythology” Series, Oil on Linen, 61 x 48 cm, Private Collection, Rome
Bottom Insert Image: André Durand, “Giordano Bruno Burning”, 2000, “Profane” Series, Oil on Linen, 203.2 x 167.6 cm
Born in Long Beach, California in August of 1923, Burgess (Jess) Franklin Collins was an American visual artist best known for his elaborate collages that addressed science, mysticism, sexuality, history and popular culture. In his early years, he read books which ranged from Proust to L. Frank Baum, listened to classical music, and constructed scrapbooks with a great aunt.
In 1942, Jess Collins entered the California Institute of Technology to study chemistry; however with the start of World War II, he was drafted in 1943 into the Army Corps of Engineers.Collins worked in a junior position at the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the production of plutonium for atomic bombs until 1946. Upon his release from military service, he continued his education at California Institute and graduated with honors in the field of radiochemistry. Collins was given a position at the Hanford Atomic Energy Project located on the Columbia River in the state of Washington.
During his employment at the Hanford site, Jess Collins began adult education classes to study painting. Due to his growing concerns about the nature of his work in the atomic energy sector and the future of the industry, he left his position and decided to pursue a full-time career in the arts. Collins moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began to study art: first at the University of California at Berkeley and later at the California School of Fine Arts. Due to an estrangement with his family, Collins changed his name during this period of study to the singular Jess.
At the California School of Fine Arts, Jess studied with visual artist Elmer Bischoff, a forerunner of Abstract Expressionism in the Bay Area; abstractionist painter Edward Corbett, known for his use of the color black in his work; painter Hassel Smith, whose work went through a succession of art forms from plein air to figurative expressionism; and Clyfford Still, whose work encompassed a wide range of materials. Jess quickly became a member of the 1950s San Francisco art scene and was actively engaged in exhibitions, poetry readings and other creative activities in the area.
In 1951, Jess met poet Robert Duncan, a member of the Black Mountain College and one of the most influential post-war American poets. They began a lifelong romantic relationship that evolved into a domestic household and an artistic collaboration that became central to the development of their art and poetry. This relationship lasted until Duncan’s death in 1968, thirty-seven years later. Along with abstract expressionist Harry Jacobus, Jess and Duncan opened the King Ubu Gallery in 1952, a venue which became an important exhibition space for alternative art in San Francisco.
Inspired by a gift from Duncan of “ Une Semaine de Bonté”, Max Ernst’s surrealist collage book, Jess began making collages, or Paste-Ups, in the early 1950s. These works, which combined text and image fragments from engravings, photographs, jigsaw pieces, and comic strips, became increasingly more complex over time. Eventually the Paste-Ups would contain thousands of distinct pieces. In 1959, Jess began a series of thirty-two works, entitled “Translation”. Each of the works were painted, enlarged reproductions of found images, such as children’s book illustrations and scientific drawings from old Scientific American periodicals, After being copied on new canvases, the paintings were combined with literary texts from such authors as William Blake, Gertrude Stein, and Plato.
The “Scavenger” series was based on painted or repainted canvases found inthrift shops. Thick layers of paint were applied covering parts of the former works while leaving other image areas exposed for viewing. Built in layers, the thick new paint reinterpreted the existing work with its added texture and images. The 1959 “Narkossos” began as a pencil drawing for a painting that was based on the myth of Narcissus. This initial drawing became a large scale mixed-media work of graphite rendering and paste-up fragments featuring references from literary and popular culture. This large-scale work with original artist’s frame is currently housed in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
For the remainder of his life, Jess lived and worked in San Francisco except for a period of travel with Duncan in the mid-1950s to Europe and the Black Mountain College. The couple entertained their extensive but intimate circle of friends at their large Victorian home in the Mission District. The household was filled with artworks by Jess and their many friends, Duncan’s vast library, the couple’s recorded music collection, and many beautiful domestic objects salvaged by Jess from thrift shops. Jess had a major retrospective of his work in 1993-1994 which toured museums in San Francisco, Buffalo, and Washington, DC.
Jess died of natural causes at his San Francisco home on the second of January in 2004 at the age of eighty. His work appears in major museum collections around the country including: the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco. His work is now represented by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York City.
Note: The Jess Collins Trust established an archive for Jess’s papers and writings in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. The Trust, which contains images of Jess’s work, exhibition and event information, and information on Robert Duncan’s work, can be found at: https://jesscollins.org
Born in Maassluis, The Netherlands in 1970, Niels Smits Van Burgst is a figurative painter whose work reveals moments of his personal life experiences and those shared with close friends and acquaintances.He currently lives in Rotterdam where he works in a large studio near the Sparta Stadium.
Niels Smits Van Burgst attended the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hage where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1993 and his Masters Degree in 1994. He committed himself in 1994 to depicting the experience of life awareness in his paintings. Initially he concentrated on painting private and personal experiences; over time, he gradually extended his work to include friends and people casually met through the course of life.
The main emphasis of Van Burgst’s work is to show an identity, an understanding of what it means to be alive in Western society. His paintings, with their broad brushstrokes and cool palettes, provide the memories for their subjects’ life experiences. In many of Van Brugst’s works, he presents images of men existing in a civilized world where their excesses, such as lust, aggression and euphoria, are personally suppressed. In society, however, excesses are still experienced by individuals through sylized media channels such as television, the internet, and film.
Niels Smits Van Burgst’spaintings have been exhibited in New York, Berlin, Amterdam, Brussels, and many more cities across Europe. A retrospective of his work was held in 2013 at the Museum ‘de Buitenplaats in Eelde, Netherlands. Van Burgst won the Van Ommeren de Voogd Foundation Prize for Fine Art in 2007 and the Aku in 2011. His paintings are in collections both private and public.
Niels Smits Van Burgst is represented by “De Twee Pauwen Gallery in The Hage.
Initiated in 2011, Nórido and Vila is a photographic collaboration between Cuban photographers Yuris Nórido Ruiz Cabrera and Lester Vila Pereira. Their oeuvre explores portraiture, fine art, architectural, and theater and dance photography.
Born in Violeta, Ciego De Ávilavila, Yuris Nórido is a journalist and a photographer who currently lives and works in Havana. He attended IPVCE Ignacio Agramonte in Ciegode Ávila and studiedSocial Communication and Journalism at the University of Havana. As a journalist, Nórido wrote for various publications, including Periodico Trabajadores, Portal Cubasi, and Noticiero Cultural. He is currently a professor at Havana’s University of Arts of Cuba.
Born in Santa Clara, Lester Pereira is an author and photographer who currently writes articles on culture, communication technology, and media for the online On Cuba News. He studied at the University of Havana and worked with the National Ballet of Cuba. In addition to his writing and photography, Pereira is press director for the Acosta Dance Company which performs both ballet and contemporary dance.
Jules-Élie Delaunay, “Study for David Triumphant”, circa 1874, Black and White Chalk, Graphite on Tan Wove Paper, No Watermark, 37.8 x 25.6 cm, Martin du Louvre Gallery, Paris
Jules-Élie Delaunay, “David Triumphant”, circa 1874, Oil on Canvas, 147 x 114 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France
Born in 1828 in the city of Nantes, Jules-Élie Delaunay was a French painter of portraits and historical scenes. Educated at an elite local school, he received his initial art education from Joachim Sotta, a local artist. In 1846, Delaunay was introduced to French Neo-classical painter Hippolyte Flandrin, who had been the favorite student of painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Two years later, he enrolled in Flandrin’s workshop at Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts. In addition to his studies with Flandrin, Delaunay also studied under French academic artist Louis Lamothe, principally a painter of portraits and historical scenes who had studied under both Ingress and Flandrin.
Jules-Élie Delaunay regularly entered into competitions for the Prix de Rome without success; his unsuccessful entry for the 1855 Prix de Rome was his historical painting “Caesar and His Fortune, which depicted Caesar attempting to cross the Straits of Brindisi in disguise as a slave. In 1856 Delaunay was awarded the prize jointly with painter Félix Auguste Clément. The next year, his painting “Christ on the Cross in the Midst of Holy Women” was purchased by the French State in 1857. This enabled him to move to the French Academy in Rome in January of 1857.
Living intermittently as a pensioner at the Villa Medici, Delaunay traveled to Sienna, Bologna, Venice, Verona, and Padua, before settling in Rome where he studied Raphael’s works at the Vatican. While in Rome, Delaunay met and befriended Edgar Degas, Léon Bonnat, and the prominent Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau. With only two years difference in age, Moreau and Delaunay shared a rapport and became close life-long friends. Delaunay returned to France at the beginning of 1861 and began to make studies for his painting “The Plague of Rome”.
In 1862, Jules-Élie Delaunay briefly visited London and, upon his return to Paris, began receiving commissions for decorative paintings. These included frescoes for the church of Saint Nicholas in Nantes, the three murals for the foyer of the Paris Opera House, murals for the Chapel of the Virgin at Paris’s Church of the Holy Trinity, and twelve paintings for the grand hall of the State Council at the Palais Royal.
In 1869, Delaunay finished his oil on wood painting “The Plague of Rome”. which was based on an episode in Italian chronicler Jacques de Voragine’s “The Golden Legend”, collected stories of the lives of medieval church saints. Depicting an angel in flight loosening a plague on Rome, the painting was exhibited at the Salon du Palais de l’Industrie in Paris. It was purchased by Napoleon III for public display and now resides in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Delaunay followed this canvas with two historical paintings: the 1870 “Death of Nessus” and the 1872 “Diana”, a full-length nude portrait of the goddess of the hunt.
Jules-Élie Delaunay’s 1874 “David Triumphant” tells the Old Testament story of David and Goliath and portrays the young hero David after he had slain the Philistine giant Goliath. David is shown holding his slingshot aloft and carrying the bloody sword used to behead his slain foe. This painting was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1874 and attracted considerable attention. Other notable works that followed were the 1876 “Ixion Plunged into Hades”, an 1882 portraiture of the Shakespearean heroine Ophelia, and two different works portraying the classical Greek poet Sappho, which was also a recurrent theme in his friend Moreau’s paintings.
In 1878, Delaunay was awarded a first-class medal at the Paris Exposition and became an officer of the Legion of Honor. He was made a member of the Institute in the following year. In 1889 Delaunay was awarded the Medal of Honor and became director of one of the three official workshops at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After winning the Grand Prize at the Paris Exposition Universelle, his health started to deteriorate. Delaunay died in September of 1891 in Paris and was buried at the Miséricorde Cemetery in Loire-Atlantique. As one of his closest friends, Gustavave Moreau was appointed the executor of his will. The Musée de Beaux-Arts in Nantes holds the largest collection of Jules-Élie Delaunay’s work
Top Insert Image: Jules-Elie Delaunay, “Self Portrait”, 1850, Etching Second State, Plate Size 11 x 8.1 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Middle Insert Image: Jules-Élie Delaunay, “In the Military Forge”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 114 x 146.8 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Jules-Élie Delaunay, Study of a Horse and Rider”, 1869-79, Charcoal with Gouache on Tan China Paper, 210 x 153 cm, Art Institute of Chicago
Manuel Scrima and Paolo Rutigliano, “Ariel Ben-Attar”, 2020 Exclusive Photo Shoot for Homotography Magazine
Manuel Scrima is an Italian-Belgium photographer, artist and director who is based in Milan. His works, inspired by both classical and neoclassical art, draw upon the techniques of light and shadow used by the Dutch master painters to create the warm intimacies typical of their work.
As a youth, Scrima’s earliest exposure to art was the mysterious paintings of Belgian symbolist painter Fernand Khnopff, whose works would form a major influence on the collective work of Gustav Klimt. Later influences on Scrima’s photography included the work of Keith Haring, the pop art works of Andy Warhol, and the marble figurative sculptures of the Italian Renaissance.
Manuel Scrima spent years living among the tribal peoples of Africa’s Rift Valley in the countries of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. His interaction with these cultures resulted in photographic series that deeply examined their cultural identity, the basic foundations of their lives, and their exposure and interaction with the expanding modern globalization.
A pivotal point in Scrima’s career was his 2006 photographic exhibition “Africa Awakens”, a well-received and successful show by critics and the public. The exhibition was in support of two international non-government organizations in Kenya, The International Community for the Relief of Starvation and The New World International, which combats child poverty, provides clean water, malaria prevention, and intervention in HIV and AIDS. The show toured museums and galleries in England, Ireland, France, Finland, Italy and Kenya. Due to his work in Africa, Scrima was appointed by UNESCO as the artist to exhibit and celebrate the culture of Kenya.
Paolo Rutigliano is an art director and photographer known for his work in the fashion world. He has done multiple shoots for Homotography, Kaltblut Magazine, and Desnudo Magazine, among others. Rutigliano’s fashion shoot with model Anilton Cabral was featured in the October 2020 issue of Desnudo Magazine.
Born in September of 1995, Ariel Ben-Attar is an Israeli international model who lives and works from Tel Aviv. As a competitive fitness model, he received the name Mr. Israel.
Born to an affluent mid-western family in Ottawa, Illinois, in July of 1903, Russell Werner Lee was an American photographer and photojournalist, who is best known for his work during the years of the Great Depression. He attended the Culver Military Academy in Indiana and studied at Lehigh University in Bethelem, Pennsylvania, where in 1925 he earned his degree in Chemical Engineering. Lee obtained a position at the chemical company Certainteed Products where he worked as a plant chemist making roofing materials.
Dissatisfied with his job and secure financially due to inherited property, Lee began experimenting in 1935 with a small Contax 35mm camera and darkroom printing. His earliest photographs were taken in the artist colony at Woodstock, New York, and later in Pennsylvania during visits with friends. It was during these visits that Lee shot a series of images depicting the working and living conditions of coal miners who toiled inside small bootleg mines in Pennsylvania. In the winter of 1935, Lee wandered the streets of New York where he photographed the poverty around him. He also shot a series of images in New York City of the evangelist Father Divine who arrived with a large group of his followers for an event.
Russell Lee’s interest in social issues and his use of photography to document social conditions brought him into contact with several social-realistartists, among whom were photographer and lithographer Ben Shahn and film maker Pare Lorentz, whose films documented the New Deal. Through his association with Ben Shahn, Lee became involved with the documentation program of the Historical Division of the Resettlement Administration. This program, later renamed the Farm Security Administration, assessed the effects of government programs during the Great Depression era.
Along with team members Arthur Rothstein, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans, Lee documented the plight of tenant farmers, migrant workers and sharecroppers suffering from drought and financial distress. He was assigned by his team leader Roy Stryker, an economist and photographer, to travel throughout the Midwest and West Coastal areas of the United States; some of Lee’s best known early photographs were those taken in rural Iowa in 1936. During his travels for the FSA, he produced iconic studies of the people living in San Augustine, Texas in 1939 and the small rural Pie Town, New Mexico in 1949. During the 1940s, Lee’s images appeared in many popular journals including Life, Fortune, U.S. Camera, and Look magazine.
In the spring and summer of 1942, Russell Lee was one of several government photographers to document the forced relocation of Japanese Americans from the west coast. He produced over six hundred images of families waiting for their travel arrangements and their ensuing daily lives in the detention facilities. With the defunding of the Farm Security Administration in 1943, Lee joined the Army’s Air Transport Command as a captain. He was assigned to take aerial surveillance photographs, including air field approaches used to supply the troops, as well as documentary images of local conditions on the ground.
In 1946 and 1947, Lee worked for the Department of the Interior and helped to compile a survey and document with images the communities involved in mining bituminous coal. He created over four thousand photographs of miners and the working conditions inside the coal mines. In 1946, Lee produced a series of photographs on a Pentecostal Church of God in a coal camp in Kentucky. In 1947, he moved to Austin, Texas, where he continued his photographic work.
In 1965, Russell Lee became the first instructor of photography at Austin’s University of Texas where he taught until 1973. In the latter part of his life, he often traveled as a photographer on assignment for various magazines and corporations, the University of Texas, and the federal government. The state of Texas became a major focus of his work until his death, at the age of eighty-three, in August of 1986.
Russell Lee’s works are held in the collections of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, the Wittliff Collections of Texas State University in San Marcos, and the Dolph Briscoe Center of American History in Austin, among others. Over nineteen thousand images taken by Russell Lee are housed in the Photography Archive of the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
Note: For those interested, I recommend Professor of History Emeritus F. Jack Hurley’s September 1973 article on Russell Lee, originally published in IMAGE: Journal of Photography and Motion Pictures of the International Museumof Photography at the George Eastman House. This extensive biography, containing many quotes by Lee, is located at the online art and humanities site “American Suburb X” :https://americansuburbx.com/2010/02/theory-f-jack-hurley-on-russell-lee.html
Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Russell Werner Lee”, Date Unknown
Second Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Russell Lee Taking Photo of Children”, Date Unknown
Third Insert Image: Russell Lee, “Perry Drugs Store”, Date Unknown
Bottom Insert Image: Russell Lee, “Shoeshine Boy, San Antonio, Texas”, 1949, Russell Lee Photograph Collection University of Texas at Austin
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana in November of 1889, Webb Parmelee Hollenbeck, known professionally as Clifton Webb, was an American actor, dancer and singer. He is known for his roles in films, his Broadway appearances in successful musicals, and for his stage appearances in the plays of English playwright and actor Sir Noël Coward.
Clifton Webb was the only child of Jacob Hollenbeck, a ticket-clerk for the Indianapolis- St. Louis Railroad, and Mabel Parmelee, the daughter of a railroad conductor. In 1891, the couple separated and Mabel took young Webb with her to New York City in 1892. After the divorce was finalized, Mabel married Green B. Raum, Jr., a copper-foundry worker andthe son of a former U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue; the new family settled in New York City on West 77th Street.
Webb, at the age of five, began dancing lessons; two years later, he made his official debut in Carnegie Hall as a member of the Children’s Theater in a performance of Canadian author Palmer Cox’schildren series “The Brownies”. This was followed with a vaudeville tour in which Webbappeared in “The Master of Charlton Hall” and performed as Oliver in “Oliver Twist” and as Tom Sawyer in “Huckleberry Finn”. As a young teenager, he studied painting with Realist artist Robert Henri, a pioneer of the Ashcan School, and music with French operatic baritone Victor Maurel. His studies with Maurel led to Webb’s debut in 1906 with Boston’s Aborn Opera Company’s production of Ambroise Thomas’s “Mignon”.
Returning to New York, Clifton Webb teamed with Mae Murray in a ballroom dance act; they toured a chain of vaudeville theaters known as the Keith Circuit and performed in Manhattan restaurants. Webb had his Broadway debut in April of 1913 with the premiere of “The Purple Road” at the Liberty Theater, in which he played the role of Bosco for one hundred-thirty six performances. Between 1913 and 1917, Webb was continually on the Broadway stage and appeared in such vehicles as Sigmund Romberg’s “Dancing Around”, Ned Waybum’s all-star revue “Town Topics” , and Cole Porter’s comic opera “See America First”.
In 1917, Webb was the sensuous dancing star of “Love O’Mike”, a musical comedy produced by Lee Shubert and Elisabeth Marbury, a theatrical agent who lived in an open relationship with actress and famous interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe, also known as Lady Mendl. By the middle of the 1920s, Webb was one of Broadway’s highest-paid stars and reached his apex with the 1930 “Three’s a Crowd” and the very successful 1933 “As Thousands Cheered”, which featured the steamy torch song “Moanin’ Low” sung by Webb and actress Libby Holman.
In 1935, Webb relocated to Hollywood where Metro Goldwyn Mayer, who hoped to make Webb a successful dancing star like RKO’s Fred Astaire, gave him an eighteen-month contract at three-thousand dollars a week. He was to star opposite Joan Crawford in a musical entitled “Elegance”; the picture was abandoned, however, Webb was paid all his money. For the next eighteen months, he was not offered any work but made many high-profile social appearances. He often appeared wearing white gloves and a top hat, with his mother Mabel on his arm and his poodle Ernest, after Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”, trailing behind on a leash.
In 1938, Clifton Webb returned to New York’s Broadway in “You Never Know”, written by his longtime friend Cole Porter. The stage version of “The Man Who Came to Dinner”, starring the stage and film actor Monty Woolley, premiered in the fall of 1939. Webb was cast as the acidic character Sheridan Whiteside for its touring version, a role in which he remained for eighteen months. In 1941, he played the character Charles Condomine, a successful novelist curious about seances,in the initial performances of Noël Coward’s comic play “Blithe Spirit”.
Webb is probably best known today for his many film appearances. In his mid-fifties, he was chosen by director Otto Preminger, despite objections from 20th Century Fox’s Darryl Zanuck who though Webb too effeminate, to play the evil radio columnist Waldo Lydecker in the 1944 film noir “Laura”. Webb’s performance won him wide acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The Fox Studio signed him to a long-term contract, which provided Webb with work for the rest of his career. His first role under contract was as a suave villain in Henry Hathaway’s 1946 film noir “Dark Corner”. This was followed with his role of elitist Elliott Templeton, playing opposite Gene Tieeney, in the 1946 “The Razor’s Edge” for which he received another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Clifton Webb achieved stardom with his role of Mr. Belvedere, a snide know-it-all babysitter with a mysterious past,in the 1948 comedy film “Sitting Pretty”, based on the 1947 novel “Belvedere” by Gwen Davenport. This role became so popular that it was followed with two sequels: the 1949 box office success “Mr. Belvedere Goes to College” and the 1951 “Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell”.In 1950, Webb and actress Myrna Loy played the roles of efficiency experts Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, the parents of twelve children, in the film “Cheaper by the Dozen” which made Webb one of the biggest stars in the United States.
In addition to these comedic films, Webb played more serious character roles for 20th Century Fox. He starred in the 1952 Technicolor film biography of bandmaster John Phillip Sousa entitled “Stars and Stripes Forever”. Webb’s most dramatic role was the brave but doomed husband of Barbara Stanwyck’s Julia Sturges in the 1953 “Titanic”, the winner of the 1954 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The following year, he appeared as the novelist John Frederick Shadwell in the romance film “Three Coins in the Fountain”. Webb appeared in the 1956 British war film “The Man Who Never Was”, based on the Allied invasion of Sicily in World War II, and as a sarcastic but self-sacrificing Catholic priest in the 1962 “Satan Never Sleeps”, his final film role.
Clifton Webb was one of the few gay actors to appear in decidedly heterosexual character roles, most notably the devoted husband who fathered twelve children in “Cheaper by the Dozen”. Obsessively proper, correct and well-mannered, he lived his bachelor life as close to being openly gay as any leading actor in Hollywood could be. Although he lived with his mother until her death in 1960, Webb threw lavish parties and enjoyed the company of young men who gathered poolside at his pink stucco house in Beverly Hills. His friends included many member of the gay circles in the film industry: Noël Coward, Cole Porter, actor Monty Woolley, director George Cukor, stage and costume designer Oliver Messel, film director Irving Rapper, actors William Hanes and Jimmie Shields, among others.
Due to health issues, Webb spent the last five years of his life as a recluse at his home in Beverly Hills. He suffered a fatal heart attack, at the age of seventy-six, at his home on the 13th of October in 1966. He is interred in a crypt in the Abbey of the Psalms at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, alongside his mother. For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Webb was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6850 Hollywood Boulevard. An archive of his papers, including typed manuscripts, notes, correspondences, financial records and Webb’s last will and testament, is housed at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences.
Note: Clifton Webb’s portrayal of the character Mr. Lynn Belvedere was the model for the “Mr. Peabody” character in the animated cartoon series “Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends”, which ran from November of 1959 to June of 1964.
Hervé Lassïnce is a French theatrical actor, screen writer,and self-taught photographer who grew up in Créteil, a culturally diverse suburb of Paris. Before he pursued his passion for photography, he had begun a career as a theatrical actor, a talent which he still continues. Lassïnce has performed with actors Jérôme Deschamps and Macha Makeîff and, in 2016, appeared in a Jean-Michel Ribes play at Paris’s Théâtre du Rond-Point.
Lassïnce began his career in photography with images of those closest to him, his family, friends and lovers. The strong emotional connection he had with these subjects, displayed in his initial work, is still evident in his most recent photographs. Generally, Lassïnce prefers to photograph subjects he knows as the sense of familiarity is stronger; however, he often photographs people he meets who catch his attention. As he considers his photography a story of friendship, Lassïnce still makes an effort to know his subject better before attempting the composition of the shoot.
Hervé Lassïnce photographs natural landscapes, an example of which is his large format photograph of water rushing over the cliffs of Niagara Falls. For many of his photographs, however, natural scenes serve as settings for his nude male subjects. In these shoots, Lassïnce presentsnatural and joyful images that show men as ordinary people comfortable in their skin. There exists in most of his nude compositions an unexpected, often curious, element that catches the eye and draws the viewer’s interest, such as tinted lighting, vased flowers, lit cell phones, or a cat sitting quietly nearby.
Lassïnce first began showing his work through Facebook and Instagram. After seeing images of his work printed on fine art paper, he began to exhibit in galleries and sell editions to collectors. In 2015, Lassïnce’s first photography collection was published by Florian Gaité, entitled “Mes Fréres (My Friends)”. At this time, he also expanded his work as a freelance photographer by shooting personality portraits and illustrating articles for magazines.
Among the influences on his work, Hervé Lassïnce has listed the work of American photographer Nam Goldin who became known for her exploration of the lives and intimacies within the LGBT subcultures. He was also influenced by the compositions and homo-eroticism in works by such painters as José de Ribera, Caravaggio, and Théodore Géricault, one of the pioneers of France’s Romantic movement.
Lassïnce’s photography has been the subject of several exhibitions including those at Paris’s Galerie P38 and Galerie Agathe Gaillard; the November 2020 exhibition at Villa Noailles in Hyères, France; the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Los Angeles; the Offarch Gallery in Milan; the Philharmonie de Paris; and the 2021 “Gallery of Instant Love” exhibition at the Design Museum of London.