@ National Portrait Gallery
DescriptionBorn Odessa, Russia (now Ukraine)Known for her roles in both Broadway plays, such as the 1916 version of The Tempest, and silent films like One of Our Girls, the Russian-born actress Fania Marinoff also attained prominence as the wife of critic and novelist Carl Van Vechten, an important champion of the Harlem Renaissance. As active figures in Harlem’s social scene, Van Vechten and Marinoff befriended many important artists and poets from the movement, including the Mexican painter and caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias. Through Covarrubias, Van Vechten and Marinoff met the Mexican painter and art educator Adolfo Best-Maugard. Van Vechten would later make an entry in his daybook recording Marinoff sitting for Best-Maugard at their apartment. The charming likeness highlights Marinoff’s celebrated large brown eyes, while the inclusion of her headdress and large dangling earrings emphasizes her dramatic flair.
Watercolor And Graphite On Paper
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Margaret and Bruce Kellner