Queer Places:
Cooper Union
Art Students League
The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016

(Alexander) Jensen Yow was a painter (and later a paper conservator at the Morgan Library), confidant of Lincoln Kirstein, and friend of George Platt Lynes. Most of these photos (by George Platt Lynes) were taken in 1948, but one may date from the early 1950s(Alexander) Jensen Yow (born December 2, 1925) was a painter (and later a paper conservator at the Morgan Library), confidant of Lincoln Kirstein, and friend of George Platt Lynes.

He was born in Henderson, Vance, North Carolina, the son of Dr. Archie C. Yow (1887-1964) and Eloise "Elsie" Osborne. He had two older siblings, Ellard and Ada Rose. Alexander Jensen Yow left his home in North Carolina to study art at Cooper Union and the Art Students League in New York in 1946. At the Art Students League, he met the painter Paul Cadmus, who introduced him to his sister, Fidelma, and her husband, Lincoln Kirstein, the co-founder of the School of American Ballet (later renamed the New York City Ballet) with choreographer George Balanchine. Eventually Kirstein and Yow became lovers, with Yow moving into the home Kirstein shared with his wife. Kirstein integrated Yow into his extensive creative social network and helped him get a job at Pippen Press, a fine silk-screening press he had founded that made prints for artists such as Ben Shahn, Pablo Picasso, and Cadmus. As Yow continued to work on his artmaking—he prided himself the most on his portraiture—he found additional income working as a studio assistant to the portrait and fashion photographer George Platt Lynes, building sets and painting backdrops for his fashion shoots. Yow regularly served as a model for those in his artistic and social orbit. Lynes photographed Yow in various stages of undress as part of his ongoing investigation of the male nude, while those in the photography collective PaJaMa (consisting of Paul Cadmus, Jared French, and Margaret Hoening French) captured him artistically posing on the beach for their camera. Paul Cadmus used Yow and the actor Jack Fontan as models for his painting The Bath (1951). In 1958, Yow moved out of Kirstein’s home, but the two remained committed friends until the latter’s death, in 1996. In the 1950s, Yow began working as a conservator at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, a position he held through the 1970s.

1950 Jensen Yow Male Gay Model By George Platt Lynes Vintage Photo Gravure  Art | eBay
by George Platt Lynes

Paul Cadmus used Jack Fontan and Alexander Jensen Yow as models in The Bath (1951). One figure on the left is looking in the mirror and the other one is seen bathing in the tub. It is a very formal, technically accomplished composition, yet it nevertheless conveys a slyly modern - and perhaps post-coital - feel to the homoerotic domesticity of its two male figures.

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