4 Saints in 3 Acts: A Snapshot of the American Avant-garde in the 1930s

Patricia Allmer (Editor), John Sears (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology


Four Saints in Three Acts by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson was a major avant-garde phenomenon of the 1930s, an experimental opera that nonetheless achieved remarkable popular success. Photography was a key element of that success, but its complex roles in the construction, representation and dissemination of the opera have hitherto received little critical attention. The photographic recording of the all-African American cast in particular affords a unique insight into the complexities of Four Saints in relation to the Harlem Renaissance and the New York avant-gardes of the time.

This book, published in collaboration with The Photographers' Gallery, London, presents a wide selection of photographs of the cast, performances, and other material - many images reproduced for the first time - alongside essays by an international range of scholars exploring different aspects of the opera, including dance, fashion, music, and avant-garde writing, as well as photography.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester; London
PublisherManchester University Press/The Photographers' Gallery
Number of pages200
ISBN (Print)9781526113030
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


Dive into the research topics of '4 Saints in 3 Acts: A Snapshot of the American Avant-garde in the 1930s'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this