Der Kreis/Le Cerle

Der Mann in der Photographie (The Male Body in Pictures): Volume 1

Zurich Der Kreis. 1954.

Hardcover. One hundred photographs of the male figure from ten years of Der Kreis magazine. A very good copy in green linen boards. There is some watermarking on the front cover which has affected the fore-edges of some of the pages inside but generally this is a very good copy. As the introduction says, "This book of photographs is not available in bookstores; it is intended as a private edition for our comrades all over the world". The photographs "were chosen simply from the point of view of youthful charm and manly beauty. Varied as the pictures may be, we believe that they harmonize to form a hymn in praise of the masculine body". This copy comes with a bookplate "Ex Libris Carl Van Vechten". Van Vechten was a music and dance critic, photograher and novelist. He was also an early admirer of Gertrude Stein and her literary executor. He was instrumental in bringing into print her unpublished writings. Edward White's 2014 biography of Van Vechten is entitled "The Tastemaker: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America" and so perhaps this collection of modestly homo-erotic photographs reflects a particular strand of modern American taste.

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