Christopher Felver portrait collection

Biographical and Historical Notes

American photographer and filmmaker Christopher Felver (born 1946) specializes in portraits of artistic and literary figures, particularly the American Beat writers. His most recent publications include Beat (2007), The Late Great Allen Ginsberg (2002), and The Importance of Being (2001). He has taken over 400 portraits of prominent figures in American and world literature, art, politics, and music.


"Profile." Christopher Felver. (accessed February 14, 2013).

Scope and Content Note

The Christopher Felver portrait collection comprises 79 black and white photographic portraits of prominent twentieth-century artistic and literary figures taken between 1981 and 2008 by American photographer and filmmaker Christopher Felver (born 1946).

Poets of the Beat generation are heavily represented in the collection, which contains portraits of individuals such as Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born 1919), Michael McClure (born 1932), Gregory Corso (1930-2001), and Robert Creeley (1926-2005). The collection also contains portraits of Black Mountain poets such as Ed Dorn (1929-1999), John Wieners (1934-2002), Fielding Dawson(1930-2002), and Lawrence Eigner (1927-1996), and Language poets such as Clark Coolidge (born 1939), Charles Bernstein (born 1950), Jackson Mac Low (1922-2004), Nathaniel Mackey (born 1947), and Bernadette Mayer (born 1945).

The Punk movement in literature and music is represented in the collection by portraits of Kathy Acker (1947-1997) and Patti Smith (born 1946). The collection also includes portraits of other poet-musicians, with a group portrait of the band the Fugs and individual portraits of Fugs founding members Tuli Kupferberg (1923-2010) and Ed Sanders (born 1939).

The collection also contains portraits of several visual artists, among them the collage artist "Jess" (Jess Collins, 1923-2004), painter R. B. Kitaj (1932-2007), feminist artist Kiki Smith (born 1954), and realist painter Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009).

The portraits are arranged alphabetically by the subjects' surnames. Most of the portraits are 8" x 10" in size; there are three larger portraits housed separately.