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Robinson Jeffers

Artist
Edward Henry Weston, 24 Mar 1886 - 1 Jun 1958
Sitter
Robinson Jeffers, 10 Jan 1887 - 20 Jan 1962
Date
1932
Type
Photograph
Medium
Photogravure
Dimensions
Image: 25.3 x 20.3cm (9 15/16 x 8")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6cm (22 x 16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents
Object number
NPG.82.TC111
Exhibition Label
Robinson Jeffers is the American version of Great Britain’s D. H. Lawrence. Less subtle or modulated (certainly less overtly sexual), Jeffers is a poet of the elemental, both in nature and in people. His was the cultural critique of the enervating and destructive effects of civilization and the suppression of our “natural” instincts. Like Lawrence (or artists like Marsden Hartley and Georgia O’Keeffe), he was inspired by American Indians and their doomed resistance to the encroachments of so-called civilization. In “Hurt Hawks,” he writes of the “wild God” that is sometimes merciful. He continues, “You do not know him, you communal people, or you have forgotten him; / Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him.” This has a certain fin de siècle feel to it, both in its cultural critique and in its sense of Darwinian struggle. Americans’ passion for individual strength seems indelibly stamped in the national character.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection