Tennessee Williams

Irving Penn, American, 1917 - 2009


See Previous Article See next Article


Platinum print


Overall: 15 1/4 × 15 1/4 in. (38.7 × 38.7 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Jane and Raphael Bernstein



Place Made: United States, North America


20th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Label, on reverse, lower center: 2980/ TENNESSEE WILLIAMS/ PHOTOGRAPHED IN NEW YORK/ FEB. 13, 1951/ 4/15. Gate House Framemakers label on reverse.


In this photograph, American playwright Tennessee Williams stares almost directly at the camera—but not quite. His gaze echoes the angularity established by his cigarette-holding hand and his other arm extending out of sight. Even the outline of his patterned bowtie adds to the active diagonals of the composition. Williams was one of the most prolific playwrights of the 20th century, well known for A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof—all works renowned for their jagged emotionality. Irving Penn, a master of subtle suggestion, evokes the essence of Williams’s writing through the composition of this portrait.

From the 2021 exhibition A Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein Collection, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Katherine W. Hart, Senior Curator of Collections and Barbara C. & Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming; John R. Stomberg Ph.D, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director; Jessica Hong, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art; and Melissa McCormick, Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at Harvard University

Course History

PORT 8, Brazilian Portraits, Carlos Cortez-Minchillo, Winter 2022

Exhibition History

A Selection of Photographs from the Hood Museum of Art, Jaffe-Friede Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, February 4-March 15,1987.

Both Sides of the Lens: Portrait Photography, A Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein Collection, William B. Jaffe Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, August 21, 2021–January 30, 2022.

Publication History

John R. Stomberg, A Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein collection; Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College, Hood Museum of Art, 2021, listed p.97.


Jane and Raphael Bernstein, Ridgewood, New Jersey; given to present collection, 1986.

This record is part of an active database that includes information from historic documentation that may not have been recently reviewed. Information may be inaccurate or incomplete. We also acknowledge some language and imagery may be offensive, violent, or discriminatory. These records reflect the institution’s history or the views of artists or scholars, past and present. Our collections research is ongoing.

We welcome questions, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Please contact us at: Hood.Collections@dartmouth.edu