Earlier this month Skinner Auctioneers presented aprivate collection of photographs from George Platt Lynes made available to the public. The collection included both commercial portraiture of gay writers and musicians—such as E.E. Cummings and Virgil Thompson— as well as examples of the iconic photographs of nude men for which Lynes is best known. A pioneer of queer photography, Lynes is acknowledged as a twentieth-century master, especially for his innovative use of lighting and poses.
Due to the taboo surrounding the images and a fear of persecution, Lynes’ nude and homoerotic work remained largely unpublished until the late twentieth century. Lynes entrusted his images in hopes they would one day be viewed without bigotry and celebrated as an exploration into the nuance and diversity of human sexuality. The preservation of this private collection marks a triumph against the anti-gay prejudice of the time, allowing these unseen works to be appreciated by the public eye.
Skinner’s Fine Photographs auction was held on May 10 at 10 a.m. in its Boston Gallery, 63 Park Plaza Boston, MA 02116.