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Martha Graham

Martha Graham
Usage Conditions Apply
Artist
Paul R. Meltsner, 1905 - 26 Nov 1966
Sitter
Martha Graham, 11 May 1894 - 1 Apr 1991
Date
1938
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 106.7 x 81.3 x 2.5cm (42 x 32 x 1")
Frame: 125.1 x 99.1 x 5.1cm (49 1/4 x 39 x 2")
Topic
Interior\Performing Arts\Theatrical\Stage
Costume\Headgear\Veil
Equipment\Staff
Martha Graham: Female
Martha Graham: Performing Arts\Performer\Dancer
Martha Graham: Performing Arts\Choreographer
Martha Graham: Performing Arts\Dance Instructor
Martha Graham: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Portrait
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Object number
NPG.73.41
Exhibition Label
Considered the mother of modern dance in America, Martha Graham brought dance into the vortex of the machine age: the idea of motion was a fundamental tenet of modernism, and Graham was determined to extract dance from its balletic-and European-classicism and infuse it with "significant movement, . . . with excitement and surge." She studied at Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn's Denishawn School from 1916 to 1923 and then worked at the Greenwich Village Follies, where she began to design and choreograph her own dances. By 1935 she had established the Martha Graham School for Contemporary Dance, and its first performance, "Frontier," reflected her notion that "life today is nervous, sharp and zigzag." Graham continued to perform until she was seventy-six and created new ballets until her death.
Provenance
(Midtown Galleries, New York); purchased 1973 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery