The Portrayal of the Artist-as-Celebrity in American Fashion and Lifestyle Magazines, 1923-1951


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


History of Art


Images of artists published in Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar from the 1920s through the early 1950s were pathbreaking in configuring artists as celebrities. A significant group of these published pictures—including caricatures, fashion photographs, and photographic portraits of artists in their studios—visually and conceptually represents the artist in terms of a celebrity persona, configuring it as an emblem of the artist’s “signature style.” Both created by and portraying artists such as Edward Steichen, Miguel Covarrubias, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock, and Brassai, this imagery thus defined and developed the figure of the “artist-celebrity,” paving the way for the conflation of art and commerce in our time. This first in-depth study of the visual representation of artists in twentieth-century fashion and lifestyle magazines demonstrates the critical role of the mass media in the development of modern American artistic identity.