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Special Features Index  

 
Spotlight Gay Male Art in America: 1900-1969
 
  Most Gay Male American Artists Before Stonewall were closeted, but they were inventive in creating codes for those in the know. After 1945, some adventurous artists developed independent networks for the distribution of works of gay art.  
 
 
  African-American and African Diaspora Art African-American and African Diaspora Artists have recently begun to explore issues specific to gender and sexuality. Often relying on self-portraiture, they address homophobia and racism as well as desire and longing.  
 
 
  Don Bachardy Don Bachardy (b. 1934) is an artist who garnered considerable public attention as the long-time companion of famed novelist Christopher Isherwood. He has also achieved renown in his own right for his nudes and celebrity portraits.  
 
 
  James Richmond Barthe James Richmond Barthé (1901-1989) was a popular African-American sculptor associated with the Harlem Renaissance. He used his art as a means of working out internal conflicts related to race and sexuality.  
 
 
  Crawford Barton Crawford Barton (1943-1993) captured the blossoming of an openly gay culture in San Francisco in photographs he created during the 1960s and 1970s.  
 
 
  Forrest Bess (1911-1977) was a mystic and artist who sought to fuse male and female in his life and work. In small, but boldly painted, abstract pieces, Bess represented his visions, which, he believed, contained the secret of immortality.  
 
 
  Paul Cadmus Paul Cadmus (1904-1999) is best known for the satiric innocence of his frequently censored paintings of burly men in skin-tight clothes and curvaceous women in provocative poses, but he also created works that celebrate same-sex domesticity.  
 
 
  F. Holland Day Fred Holland Day (1864-1933) was an American intellectual, publisher, and aesthete who belonged to a small international group of early gay photographers of the male nude.  
 
 
  Beauford Delaney Beauford Delaney (1901-1979) was a gay African-American modernist painter whose portraits of black cultural leaders are considered classics. The pressures of being black and gay in a racist and homophobic society may have ultimately robbed him of his sanity.  
 
 
  Charles Demuth Charles Demuth (1883-1935) was one of America's first modernist painters. He was also one of the earliest artists in the United States to expose his gay identity through forthright, positive depictions of homosexual desire.  
 
 
  George Dureau (b. 1930) is a New Orleans artist best known for his male figure studies and narrative paintings in oil and charcoal and for his black-and-white photographs, which often feature street youths, dwarfs, and amputees.  
 
 
  Jared French (1905-1988) was a painter who was dissatisfied with merely describing the material world. Instead, he devised a pictorial language to explore human unconsciousness and its relation to sexuality.  
 
 
  The Harlem Renaissance The Harlem Renaissance, an African-American literary movement of the 1920s and 1930s, included several important gay and lesbian writers and influenced a number of visual artists.  
 
 
  Marsden Hartley Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), one of the central figures in the evolution of modern American art, created works that help define the delicate balance between the erotic and the poetic.  
 
 
  David Hockney David Hockney (b. 1937) is one of the liveliest and most versatile visual artists of his generation. He has helped break down resistance to the erotic gaze directed at the male body and also presented gay male couples in domestic--rather than sensational or sexual--images.  
 
 
  Horst Horst P. Horst (1906-1999) was a German-born American photographer who created some of the most memorable images of the mid-twentieth century.  
 
 
  Delmas Howe Delmas Howe (b. 1935) is a prominent American artist who seeks to visualize gay history by linking the past with the present in intensely homoerotic, deceptively naturalistic paintings.  
 
 
  Peter Hujar Peter Hujar (1934-1987) created stark, stunning, affecting, and sometimes disturbing photographs in black and white. His oeuvre ranged from portraits of famous writers and artists to homoerotic subjects and pictures of domestic animals.  
 
 
  Robert Indiana Robert Indiana (b. 1928) is best known for his contributions to Pop Art, especially his LOVE series of paintings and sculptures. Indiana has incorporated autobiographical and gay themes in many of his pieces.  
 
 
  Jasper Johns Jasper Johns (b. 1930) is known for his iconic yet cryptic paintings. Art historians recognize Johns as a key figure in Pop Art and the transition from Modernism to Post-Modernism.  
 
 
  Lincoln Kirstein (1907-1996) is best known as the leading impresario of the American ballet world, but he also contributed immensely to the fields of dance, visual arts, and literature.  
 
 
  Joseph C. Leyendecker Joseph C. Leyendecker (1874-1951), the leading illustrator of his day, created images (some of them of his lover Charles Beach, the "Arrow Man") that helped define American standards of beauty and sophistication from the 1890s to the 1940s.  
 
 
  George Platt Lynes George Platt Lynes (1907-1955) was a photographer who made his fame as a fashion and portrait photographer, but his greatest work may have been his dance images and male nudes.  
 
 
  Patronage Patronage--the sponsorship of artists and the commissioning of works from them--has remained a significant factor in the creation of queer visual culture in the modern and post-modern eras.  
 
 
  Gay Male Photography Before Stonewall Gay Male Photography Before Stonewall blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.  
 
 
  Pop Art Pop Art first appeared in England in the 1950s, then flourished in the United States during the early 1960s, the moment of Pop's greatest popularity. Gay men including Robert Indiana, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, and Andy Warhol were among the most important figures in the Pop movement.  
 
 
  Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) was a bisexual artist, art critic, and poet now recognized as a major twentieth-century American Intimist painter. His work features lyrical depictions of everyday life and portraits of family members and friends.  
 
 
  Lionel H. Pries (1897-1968) was a noted architect and artist, now primarily remembered for his teaching career at the University of Washington, which was cut short when he was arrested in a vice sting in the late 1950s.  
 
 
  George Quaintance George Quaintance (1902-1957) was an influential figure in a unique American style of art and a pioneer of male physique painting. Though now obscure, he was one of the most flamboyant and interesting gay characters for four decades of the twentieth century.  
 
 
  Robert Rauschenberg Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) was one of the most prolific and innovative artists of the late twentieth century. He was at the core of an interdisciplinary group of artists who rebelled against mid-century aesthetic orthodoxy and revolutionized American art.  
 
 
  Larry Rivers (1923-2002), one of the pioneers of Pop Art, was a prolific artist, sculptor, and jazz musician. Although he did not identify as a bisexual, the twice-married artist had significant same-sex sexual experience.  
 
 
  Mel Roberts Mel Roberts (b. 1923) captured the spirit of the California Dream that lured thousands of gay men to the Golden State after World War II. His photographs of young men, many nude, continue to resonate with gay viewers. Click here to view slides of Roberts' work.  
 
 
  Jack Robinson Jack Robinson (1928-1997) became famous as a celebrity and magazine photographer during the 1960s. Before that, he created a series of photographs that document the gay subculture of New Orleans in the 1950s. Click here to view slides of his work.  
 
 
  Francesco Scavullow Francesco Scavullo (1929-2004) is best known for his fashion photography and his eye-catching magazine covers, but he was also such a masterful portrait photographer that the Washington Post declared him "the court painter of our time."  
 
 
  Pavel Tchelitchew Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957) was a painter, sculptor, and set designer who created a number of works that illustrate homoerotic desire. He and his lover Charles Henri Ford were at the center of a social world of wealthy, influential homosexuals in New York City.  
 
 
  Carl Van Vechten Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964), a writer and photographer, was known as Harlem's "most enthusiastic and ubiquitous Nordic" during the 1920s. He is often credited for bringing the New Negro Movement to the attention of white Americans.  
 
 
  Andy Warhol Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is the avatar of Pop Art. He is best known for art works that flouted traditional notions of good taste and masculinity, but he also had an enormous impact on gay cinema.  
 
 
  Cady Wells Cady Wells (1904-1954) is famous for his watercolor paintings. He was also a patron of the arts and an activist citizen of the Santa Fe and Taos art colonies from the 1930s to the 1950s.  
 
 
  Monroe Wheeler (1899-1988), a publisher, book designer, and museum director, was a leading figure in New York artistic and gay communities of the 1950s and 1960s, alongside his partner of sixty-eight years, the writer Glenway Wescott.  
 
 
  Minor White (1908-1976) was a renowned photographer, teacher, critic, editor, and curator who created some of the most interesting photographs of male nudes of the second half of the twentieth century. He did not exhibit them for fear of scandal.  
 
 
 

 
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