Thursday, October 29, 2009

Roy DeCarava Dies

Roy DeCarava, the pioneering and influential African-American photographer, died on Tuesday at the age of 89. DeCarava made dark, shadowy images of the day-to-day lives of Harlem residents and local jazz musicians at work. His photographs were in many ways the first to accurately capture authentic, warm moments from within the community, in contrast to the more sociological studies that had been taken of the neighborhood and its culture by outsiders. (Sun and Shade, 1952, at right, via Corcoran)

After a decent amount of searching, I have been unable to locate the gallery that consistently represents DeCarava's work/estate, so please add it to the comments if you know the answer.

DeCarava's luscious prints (full of deep, tactile blacks and dark greys) have only been intermittently available in the secondary markets in the past five years; prices have ranged between $5000 and $25000. DeCarava's book The Sweet Flypaper of Life, 1955, (a collaboration with Langston Hughes) has also become highly collectible.

Obituaries: NY Times (here), LA Times (here), Lens (here), Looking Around (here)


verninino said...

I went to the Jenkins Johnson exhibit of his work (way back in winter of '06). If you've ever been to their Chelsea gallery it has to very large rooms and they filled both rooms with his works, with just enough room for the works and spectators to breath comfortably.

Roy himself was on a panel they assembled that was intended to be a tribute to him and his work. But when the accolades were coming generously enough he pretty much took over. He was absolutely charming, in a very pugnacious sort of way.

The impression he left on me was that he alone was in tight control of his images. It'll be interesting to see who ends up representing his estate.

Chris said...

It had to have been the show of a lifetime for Karen. What a Gallery is all about. You guys in New York are very lucky. I wish I had been there.