Friday, January 12, 2024

Alexander Jensen Yow

I posted this 1948 George Platt Lynes Photo of Alexander Jensen Yow way back in 2018 and didn't know at the time that he was a key figure in arts scene from about 1950 onward.  For today's series, we have to focus on the fact that he was Lincoln Kirstein's lover over a span of decades, Having met Lincoln through Paul Cadmus, he ended up living in a 19th Street Mahanattan home with the impresario and his wife Fidelma Cadmus, Paul's sister.  By all accounts Fidelma was fond of "Jens" as friends called him.  An aspiring artist, his portrait of Lincoln (shown below) was good, but his career path ended up going elsewhere.

Jens didn't just model for George Platt Lynes' photos.  He also did a memorable job in 1951 posing with Jack Fontan for Paul Cadmus' memorable painting The Bath, shown below.  In a rare interview at age 91 he described the modeling sessions as an ordeal because he and Jack did not get along and argued while Paul Cadmus painted them.  That's Jens in the tub.

Lincoln Kirstein helped Jensen Yow get a job as a silk screener in a workshop that specialized in wallpaper.  Yes, you read that right.  Through hard work and with Lincoln's connections, he parlayed that into producing print runs for artists such as Pablo Picasso and collaborating with renowned English photographer Cecil Beaton.  After helping Beaton take a turn at graphic Broadway set designs and fashion photo backdrops, the Englishman encouraged Jens to take up photography.  That resulted in the portrait of Beaton shown below which leaves me wondering if Jens did the wallpaper, too.

Coming full circle, Jensen Yow eventually did a number of very good male nude photos like "Man with Sweater" shown below.  This photo has erroneously been attributed to Lynes and also erroneously shown on line as being of Jensen and not by him.  I'm saving the rest of Mr. Yow's male nudes for his own very well deserved day in a future blog posting.

After his work as a model, artist, silk screener, wallpaper maker, and photographer, 
Jensen Yow eventually settled into a long career as a highly acclaimed conservator 
and restorer of fine art.  As best as I can tell, he is still livng at age 98.



  1. The top picture of Mr Yow shows a very handsome young man.

  2. Very handsome man, I am seeing a Ralph Lauren ad here! Polo anyone?

  3. Handsome young man. Totally get the polo vibe. Love The Bath. Model, wallpaper, etc. That’s a life. Nice!

  4. I have the 'man in a sweater' identified as Robert F. Bishop. I have 9 more photos of him, 8 of which have no photographer attribution unfortunately. However, one photo has a bit of biographical info on Robert and has the photographer as Bill Heyne, TM (Today's Man) photographer. One of the unattributed photos has the same textured wallpaper background as the one you've posted here, and Robert/Bob appears to have a hammock draped over his shoulder. Let me know if you'd like the others, Jerry.

    1. Sure. I'd like to see how they compare to what I have. Thanks!