Face Lift: Caption This!
Week Two: Jimmie Daniels—Double Vision

These two portraits of performer Jimmie Daniels are the second set in our Face Lift: Caption This! contest. How do these two portraits—the photograph by George Platt Lynes and the bronze sculpture by Richmond Barthé—convey different aspects of Mr. Daniels’ persona? Imagine the dashing young man in Paris and Harlem. Let your creativity flow and suggest a caption for this double image of the entertainer.

Read the full terms and conditions for the Face Lift: Caption This! contest.

Curatorial Perspective

Though artists often create portraits with paint, these two works depicting American singer and entertainer Jimmie Daniels (1910 – 1984) employ different media.  In addition to an artist’s technical ability, qualities inherent to the materials also contribute to the efficacy and suggestive power of a portrait.

Jimmie Daniels was a performer and fashionable master of ceremonies in Paris before opening his own supper club in Harlem in the 1930s.  His was a popular stop on the circuit of raucous New York nightlife. Known as a handsome and dashing character, several artists chose to portray Daniels in their work. Harlem Renaissance artist, Richmond Barthé, studied both painting and sculpture, but turned almost exclusively to bronze works after 1927. Barthé chose Daniels as his subject on more than one occasion stating that he found the performer’s smile particularly engaging. As a portraitist, Barthé was considered among the best in New York, his masterful control of his medium enabled him to capture not only the details of Daniels’s facial features, but also the essence of his spirit.

In contrast to Barthé’s straightforward presentation of his subject, photographer George Platt Lynes portrays Daniels from the side, with his head in his hands and surrounded by several shadowed hands in the background. This portrait of Daniels seems to accentuate his theatrical nature. The lighting gracefully captures the smooth planes and contours of Daniels’s body and face.  Though many of his portraits were for commercial use in publications such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Lynes often incorporated elements of Surrealism or homo-eroticism into his work, especially in his portraits of entertainers.

7 Responses to “Face Lift: Caption This!
Week Two: Jimmie Daniels—Double Vision”

  1. on 20 Sep 2010 at 10:58 amKevin Kurtz

    When you cannot control your Jazz Hands, you only get your head sculpted.

  2. on 20 Sep 2010 at 11:23 amKim Perry

    *groan* not Jazz Hands again! *sigh* I know, I can’t even look . . . that is SO 1990s.

  3. on 20 Sep 2010 at 12:31 pmAllison Skipper

    Talk to the hands, cause the face don’t wanna listen.

  4. on 21 Sep 2010 at 12:24 pmCindy O'Neil

    “I have lots of hands going on over here and a head as hard as a rock over there, but one thing I can tell you is, ‘a man is not paid for having a head and hands, but for using them’ (based on an Elbert Hubbard quote).”

  5. on 21 Sep 2010 at 12:38 pmCaroline Nuttall

    Depression hurts. Bronzing yourself in a statue can help.

  6. on 21 Sep 2010 at 12:44 pmCaroline Nuttall

    And on a more serious note…

    Today’s pressures will fade. Your legacy is forever.


    Pressure of Legacy

  7. on 21 Sep 2010 at 12:48 pmCaroline Nuttall

    If I can only have one…

    Pressure of Legacy

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