L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Two pastel portrait drawings by Winold Reiss

Isamu Noguchi, circa 1929. (Detail of below.)

The beautiful, brilliant young sculptor at twenty-four. The beautiful, brilliant young poet at twenty-three.  I love these two portraits, both of them a wonderful balance of graphic delicacy and compositional drama, a blending of a cool, classical refinement and the vivid spirit of "The Jazz Age".

Langston Hughes, 1925.


F. Winold Reiss (16 September 1886, Karlsruhe – 23 August 1953, New York City), German-born American artist, graphic designer, and interior designer; he is best known for his portraiture. He was born the second son of Fritz Reiss, a well-known artist of landscape and peasant scenes. In his youth, Reiss traveled in Germany with his father who was intent on studying peasants of particular types, an activity and a nearly ethnographical interest which would inform the son's own future artistic sensibilities. Reiss later went to Munich where he attended both the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied with Franz von Stuck, and the School of Applied Arts. In 1913 he emigrated to America, settling in New York City, where he quickly became known for his colorful graphic designs and for his commercial interiors.

Reiss was incredibly inspired by America's great ethnic diversity, and he is most remembered for his sensitive and objective portrayals of Native Americans, African Americans, and other racial and ethnic minorities. Living in New York, he was a witness to the Harlem Renaissance and portrayed many of its leading figures, and he traveled around the country and in Mexico, his work celebrating ordinary and often marginalized people. He was perhaps most drawn to Native Americans, especially the Blackfoot; he made more than two-hundred and fifty portraits of Native people. When he died at the age of sixty-six, he was cremated and his ashes were spread by the Blackfoot along the eastern edge of Glacier National Park.

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