Carl Van Vechten

Carl Van Vechten, the great popularizer of the Harlem Renaissance for white people.

Carl Van Vechten photo

Carl Van Vechten is a 1-Time Bestselling Author

Carl Van Vechten (June 17, 1880 – December 21, 1964) was a photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance

Color Auhtors photos by Carl Van Vechten

“The height of Van Vechten’s celebrity came with the publication of his fifth novel, Nigger Heaven. The title, shocking by contemporary standards, aroused controversy in 1926 as well. The phrase reflected both Harlem itself at the time, in the African-American vernacular, as well as a term for the top tier of seats in a segregated theater. The novel offered a love-triangle plot, but served more to educate mainstream readers about life in a hidden quarter of America’s most cosmopolitan city…

…Van Vechten had wearied of fiction and essays and began to explore another creative pursuit-portrait photography. By 1932 he had dedicated himself exclusively to this, and his portraits of many luminaries of the day, as well as up-and-coming performers such as Lena Horne, Alvin Ailey, and Harry Belafonte, remain incisive glimpses into the era. Read more at about Carl Van Vechten at

Also check out book review of Carl Van Vechten And The Harlem Renaissance: A Portrait In Black And White.

All photos, Carl Van Vechten

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26 Books by Carl Van Vechten