Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin, starting as a self-taught songwriter on New York's Lower East Side, composed "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911 and went on to capture Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood with such beloved classics as "Dancing Cheek to Cheek," "Easter Parade," and "God Bless America." Shortly after Covarrubias drew him for Vanity Fair, Berlin married socialite Ellin Mackay, a café society event that provoked front-page coverage.

Covarrubias's characteristic shading of sharp, tapered lines, suggesting the repetitive gouges of woodcut prints, added a sharply defined three-dimensionality to his images. Critic William Murrell observed an "archaic note in the geometric and sculptural quality of his line," and admired their vitality.


Irving Berlin 18881989
Miguel Covarrubias (19041957)
Ink with pencil on paper for Vanity Fair, March 1925
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Draper Hill


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