Why Oscar Wilde’s Life Was a Work of Art

More Than a Century After His Death, a Paris Exhibition Illuminates Both the Tawdry and the Transcendent

The French have always loved Oscar Wilde, just as he always loved them. Long before Britain sent him to jail for enjoying sex with other males in 1895, he made Paris his spiritual home. He wrote the erotic tragedy Salomé (1892) in French, but the Examiner of Plays in London banned it after deeming it “half Biblical, half pornographic.” Much later, when he left prison in May 1897, he had to escape London, since his reputation there was ruined. So he crossed the Channel to Paris, where he resided, …

In the Segregated 20th Century, Schoolchildren Embodied Black Uplift

How a Leading Portraitist Captured Their Refinement and Restlessness

For much of the 20th century, the Scurlock family of portrait photographers—first Addison Scurlock and his wife Mamie and then their sons Robert and George—were the premiere chroniclers of the …

Elizabeth Taylor Never Appeared in Her Final, Most Intimate Portrait

To Capture the Heart of a Hollywood Legend, Catherine Opie Turned Her Camera Toward the Actress’ Home, Chanel Shoes, and Kitchen Table

When they hear the word “portrait,” most people assume they’ll see an image of a human figure. Catherine Opie’s new collection of photographs, 700 Nimes Road, doesn’t quite answer that …