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Catalog Data

Boris Chaliapin, 1904 - 1979  Search this
Katherine Mary Dunham, 22 Jun 1909 - 21 May 2006  Search this
Sanguine and charcoal on board
Image: 131.9 x 76cm (51 15/16 x 29 15/16")
Frame (accurate): 134.9 × 80.6 × 6cm (53 1/8 × 31 3/4 × 2 3/8")
Exhibition Label:
Born Glen Ellyn, Illinois
One of the founders of the anthropological dance movement, Katherine Dunham distilled Caribbean and African dance elements into modern American choreography. In the 1930s, she did fieldwork in the Caribbean and infused her choreography with the cultures of that region. She and her company appeared in the 1940 Broadway version of Cabin in the Sky; she collaborated with George Balanchine on the show’s choreography as well as on the 1943 film. Other movie highlights include the 1941 Warner Bros. short Carnival of Rhythm—the first Hollywood dance film shot in Technicolor—and Stormy Weather (1943).
An educator, dancer, and choreographer, Dunham created more than ninety dances. She once wrote, “I am only interested in dance as an education, a means of knowing people.” Artist Boris Chaliapin, best known for his Time magazine covers, asked Dunham to pose for this portrait for his collection of drawings he had made of other noted dancers.
Katherine Mary Dunham: Female  Search this
Katherine Mary Dunham: Visual Arts\Founder  Search this
Katherine Mary Dunham: Humanities and Social Sciences\Anthropologist  Search this
Katherine Mary Dunham: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist  Search this
Katherine Mary Dunham: Performing Arts\Performer\Dancer  Search this
Katherine Mary Dunham: Performing Arts\Choreographer  Search this
Katherine Mary Dunham: Performing Arts\Dance Instructor  Search this
Katherine Mary Dunham: Legion of Honor  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mrs. Boris Chaliapin and Irina Chaliapin Murphy
Object number:
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery