Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Weston-Van Vechten-Luhan-Draper-Covarrubias, 1930-34

Marjorie Eaton ca. late 1930s, Dorothea Lange photo. Courtesy Oakland Museum of California, Dorothea Lange Collection.

While researching Marjorie Eaton's (see above) time in Taos in the early 1930s for my upcoming "Schindler-Scheyer-Eaton-Ain: A Case Study in Adobe" I ran across the below photos of  Mabel and Tony Luhan, Muriel Draper and Miguel and Rose Covarrubias taken by Edward Weston in Carmel in 1930 and Carl Van Vechten in New York and Taos in 1932 and 1934. There is definitely a story waiting to be told among these fascinating connections. (Some of the story can be found at my "Edward Weston and Mabel Dodge Luhan Remember D. H. Lawrenceand Selected Carmel-Taos Connections").

Mabel Dodge Luhan by Edward Weston, Carmel, 1930. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

Tony Luhan, Carmel, April 8, 1930. Edward Weston portrait. From Lorenzo in Taos by Mabel Dodge Luhan, Alfred A. Knopf, 1932, p. 33. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

Weston took the above images of Mabel Dodge Luhan and husband Tony during their visit to Carmel in the spring of 1930. Luhan's visit was a face-to-face attempt to lure poet Robinson Jeffers to Taos. Her endeavor was eventually successful as the Jeffers family would spend summers at the Luhan compound in the mid-1930s. She was also successful in luring Weston into her web during the summer of 1933. (Ibid).

Mabel Dodge Luhan by Carl Van Vechten, Taos, 1934. Courtesy Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Tony and Mabel Dodge Luhan by Carl Van Vechten, Taos, 1934. Courtesy Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Muriel Draper, by Edward Weston, Carmel, November, 1933. From Weston's Westons: Portraits and Nudes by Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989, p. 129. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

Noted author and social activist Muriel Draper was living in Pebble Beach in late 1933 when she sat for the above portrait in Weston's Carmel studio. They likely had a fascinating chat about their mutual connections with Mabel and Tony whom Weston had photographed in 1930 and visited in Taos the previous summer. Draper was also close friends with Gertrude Stein and all in Mabel's New York salon circle.

Muriel Draper by Carl Van Vechten, 1934. Courtesy Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Miguel Covarrubias, 1926 by Edward Weston. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Rose Roland de Covarrubias, 1926 by Edward Weston. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

Miguel Covarrubias and Tina Modotti, Mexico City, 1924. Photo by Edward Weston. Copyright 1981, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.

I also serendipitously ran across the above and below photos of Miguel and Rose Covarrubias by both photographers. Weston first met and befriended Miguel and Rose in 1923 after moving to Mexico with his then lover Tina Modotti. Both Tina and Edward began photographing the couple in 1924 (see above). Weston often exhibited the above photo of Rose, likely for the first time in the U.S. during his two-man show with close friend Johan Hagemeyer at Gump's in San Francisco in February of 1925 (see below).
Edward Weston and Johan Hagemeyer, Gump's, Feb., 9 to Feb. 21, 1925. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, Edward Weston Collection.

Covarrubias visited the Luhan compound in Taos during the summer of 1929 following Van Vechten who had spent a few weeks there in early 1927. (The Tastemaker Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America by Edward White, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2014, p. 224).  This was also around the time that Marjorie Eaton was getting acclimated to Taos and meeting architect R. M. Schindler's 1915 client Doc Martin and his old Chicago Palette and Chisel Club pals Walter Ufer, E. Martin Hennings and Victor Higgins and Mabel Dodge Luhan's by then secretary "Spud" Johnson with whom she had Berkeley connections. (For much more on this see my "Miguel Covarrubias in Taos, 1929").

Miguel Covarrubias, 1932 by Carl Van Vechten. Courtesy Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Van Vechten also first met Covarrubias in 1923. It was through his largess that Covarrubias had some of his caricatures published in Vanity Fair that year which turned him into an overnight success. The couple sat for their above and below Van Vechten portraits in New York in October of 1932. (Katherine Anne Porter in Mexico: The Illusion of Eden, by Thomas S. Walsh, University of Texas Press, 1992, p. 65).

Rose Covarrubias, 1932 by Carl Van Vechten. Courtesy Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Carl Van Vechten by Miguel Covarrubias, n.d. Courtesy Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

There are many more Weston-Van Vechten connections awaiting to be made and perhaps enough for a fascinating exhibition so stay tuned.