elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Chuck Howard, José “Pete” Martinez and the others

This is the last appointment in my "Vintage Man Candy" series (you can find first appointment here: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1347308.html and the second here: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1414451.html). Why and when I was inspired to do this serial? since while browsing for artists and authors of the past, there was always something that linked together what I arrived to identify as the Gay Metropolis circle, i.e. those circle of artistic people (authors, screenwriters, choreographers, painters...) all living in New York City between the '30 and the '50. They all wandered around three focal points: the first one was the menages a trois of Glenway Wescott, Monroe Wheeler and George Platt Lynes (Barbara Harrison and Monroe Wheeler established Harrison of Paris, a press publishing limited-edition literary paperbacks; Barbara Harrison married Glenway's brother Lloyd Wescott and the press relocated to New York); the second one was that of the artistic trio PaJaMa, i.e. painters Paul Cadmus, Jared French and Margaret Hoening (when Jared French married Margaret Hoening he was already in a relationship with Paul Cadmus, relationship that didn't suffer from the marriage, Margaret Hoening smoothly joined the couple); the third and last focal point was that of Lincoln Kirstein and his wife Fidelma Cadmus, the sister of Paul Cadmus (In 1946, Balanchine and Kirstein founded the Ballet Society, renamed the New York City Ballet in 1948. Kirstein served as the company's General Director from 1946 to 1989 and he was the one giving the task to George Platt-Lynes to immortalize many of his dancers on glossy B&W photos). (Picture: Chuck Howard and Ted Starkowski, 1950, by PaJaMa)

Today I will tell you the story of Chuck Howard, George Platt-Lynes's lover and the one his friends believed was the right one for George and of José “Pete” Martinez, Lincoln's favorite dancer and lover, who shared Lincoln's life even during the first year of Lincoln's marriage with Fidelma Cadmus.

The Architect, 1950, by Paul Cadmus. Charles "Chuck" Howard was the model

Chuck Howard was George Platt-Lynes’s lover. Howard had come to New York after the war and met Platt-Lynes there at a farewell party for Bernard Perlin, whom he had met in Miami Beach while serving in the army. Platt Lynes’s circle, Glenway Wescott and Monroe Wheeler, Paul Cadmus (he is the model for The Architect), Jared and Margaret French, and Lincoln and Fidelma Kirstein welcomed Howard, in part because he had a beneficial and organizing influence upon the photographer.

Excerpt from Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle by David Leddick:

Charles “Chuck” Howard was George Platt-Lynes’s lover. While serving in the U.S. Navy, Chuck Howard had met the painter Bernard Perlin in Miami Beach. Howard had come to New York after the war and met Platt-Lynes there at a farewell party for Perlin, who had received a grant to study in Rome. Shortly thereafter Howard moved into Platt-Lynes’s apartment. Platt-Lynes now found himself with plenty of work and plenty of people to see. His old coterie of Monroe Wheeler, Glenway Wescott, Paul Cadmus, Jared and Margaret French, and Lincoln and Fidelma Kirstein welcomed Chuck Howard, in part because he had a beneficial and organizing influence upon the photographer. (…)

As the decade ended, Dr. Alfred Kinsey, whose Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and its statistics on homosexual activity had caused enormous controversy when published in 1948, entered the lives of the Platt-Lynes circle. He had first met Wheeler and Wescott, and although his book on male sexuality was completed, he wanted to interview and record information on the sex lives of this exotic coterie of friends. When interviewing George Platt-Lynes, Kinsey discussed the erotic in art and the role it played in the artists’ lives. Financially, Kinsey was a great help to Platt-Lynes as he commissioned over one hundred prints to be made for the Kinsey Institute at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. And purchased many more.

In addition to interviews, Dr. Kinsey was interested in observing sexual intercourse. Glenway Wescott, an avid voyeur, arranged a number of homosexual couplings for him to observe. Large orgies were also arranged by Wescott at which the doctor was present. A number of men traveled to Bloomington, where they performed sexually for the institute’s film camera. Among them were Charles “Chuck” Howard and William Christian “Bill” Miller. Miller, who had been a lover of Monroe Wheeler’s, was favored by Wheeler, and Howard was the preferred candidate of Glenway Wescott. There was little chemistry between the two men, and Howard has said, “It wasn’t Hollywood.” When Dr. Kinsey published his book on female sexuality, he included a lot of this new information pertaining to males. This sexual research in the Wescott circle was to continue well into the 1950s. (…)

Chuck Howard was a favorite model for the artists he met in the post-war years and his unusual sculpted features and beautiful body appealed to many in this group. In addition to Paul Cadmus, he posed for Jared French, Bernard Perlin, and George Tooker and was sculpted by John LaFarge, the son and namesake of the well-known nineteenth-century painter. Howard was also photographed by his lover George Platt-Lynes and the PaJaMa group.(…)

In 1951, George Platt-Lynes’s financial situation worsened, as did his personal life. Although he had clients that were loyal to him, such as the stores Sacks Fifth Avenue and Bendel’s, his income was not enough to sustain his accustomed lifestyle: the lavish entertaining, the gifts of jewelry to favorites, the keeping up with his society friends. At the same time his relationship with Chuck Howard ended, which removed Chuck’s steadying effect on his life. In January 1951, his letter to his mother reported, “Late last week, Chuck decided to go off and live by himself. It’s a pity, for I shall miss him; but I don’t disapprove… I’m afraid that my influence is too often all-pervading, all-inclusive.” (Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle by David Leddick)

Chuck Howard and Ted Starkowski by PaJaMa

Chuck Howard and Ted Starkowski by PaJaMa

Chuck Howard and Ted Starkowski, 1950, by PaJaMa

Chuck Howard and Ted Starkowski, 1953, by PaJaMa

Chuck Howard, 1940, by Jared French

Chuck Howard, 1949, by Jared French

Chuck Howard, 1949, by George Platt-Lynes

Chuck Howard, 1950, by George Platt-Lynes

Chuck Howard, one of the adventurous young designers who put a distinctly non-Parisian accent on American clothing in the 1950's and 60's, died on September 30, 2002, at a hospital in Albuquerque. He was 75 and most recently lived in Santa Fe and on the island of Saba, in the Netherlands Antilles.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his partner, Edward Vaughan.

For a time in the late 1960's, he produced his own line of sporty, colorful coats, tunics, pants and jersey shirts. Doing so, he helped start the career of Donna Karan, who worked for him, and whom he introduced to Anne Klein. Eventually he tried his luck in the restaurant business in Manhattan before moving to the Caribbean in the early 1980's.

Charles Howard was born in Cochran, Ga., attended college in Florida and was a tail gunner in the Navy Air Corps in World War II, stationed in Hawaii. Helped by the G.I. Bill, he studied dress design in Paris after the war and settled in New York.

His eye-catching appearance made him a natural photographer's model. His own fashion career took shape in the late 1950's, when he was discussed in reviews along with young American designers like Frank Smith, John Norman, Pembroke Squires and John Weitz, a friend, who died on Thursday at 79.

He did sketches for Bill Blass, another close friend, and worked with Anne Klein at Junior Sophisticates. For a time, in the 1960's, he did business under his own name. It was then that he introduced Donna Karan, a Parsons design student working for him, to Anne Klein.

On Klein's death in 1974, Donna Karan succeeded her as designer for the Anne Klein studio. Mr. Howard closed his company and became a designer and creative coordinator at the studio, and was responsible for several of its collections.

After he quit the fashion business, he and Mr. Vaughan operated Chuck Howard, a theater district restaurant on West 46th Street in Manhattan until they moved to Saba (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/05/nyregion/chuck-howard-ex-designer-is-dead-at-75.html)

Excerpt from Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle by David Leddick:

Another male dancer added to the company was José “Pete” Martinez, with whom Lincoln Kirstein maintained a liaison until his marriage. Martinez was from Los Angeles, where he had received his early dance training, and had entered the School of American Ballet as soon as he came to New York. Kirstein and he lived together, and when Lincoln Kirstein married Fidelma Cadmus in 1941, she moved into their apartment with them temporarily. (Picture: José Pete Martinez, 1937, by George Platt-Lynes)

José Martinez, who died in 1997, less than a year after Lincoln Kirstein, was a droll and witty young man of Mexican origin. Those who knew the two men in the 1930s said he was capable of endlessly amusing his lover, and that of all the men in his life, Martinez was the man that Kirstein most likely loved the most. Kirstein loved gossip and other men’s tales of their sexual exploits, and this love of storytelling drew him to Martinez. In addition, Martinez was handsome, and many artists painted, drew, and photographed him. Fidelma Cadmus drew him, Paul Cadmus drew and painted him, and George Platt-Lynes created a beautiful series of photos of him nude in a windowlike aperture, wearing a large straw hat.

Martinez was a member of Ballet Caravan. Organized by Kirstein, this company toured the United States, visiting many smaller cities as well as large ones. Their repertoire was very different from the classical companies, Colonel de Basil’s Ballet Russe and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, the two offshoot companies from the original Diaghilev companies. Other young male dancers added to the company during this period were Nicholas Magallanes and Francisco Moncion, both of Latin American origin and both of whom were to remain with Balanchine and Kirstein throughout their long careers. Magallanes was discovered by Kirstein’s painter friend Pavel Tchelitchev, roaming the streets of New York. Tchelitchev not only used him as central figure in his large painting Phenomena, but brought him to Kirstein to study dance. He immediately showed talent and became one of the leading dancers of what eventually became the New York City Ballet.

Francisco “Frank” Moncion said that as a young teenager he was walking down the street minding his own business when Lincoln Kirstein passed by and shouted, “Hey, kid, want to be a dancer?” Kirstein undoubtedly had an eye for talent, for Moncion was also to become an important lead dancer with the company. (Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle by David Leddick)

José Pete Martinez, 1937, by George Platt-Lynes

José Pete Martinez, 1937, by George Platt-Lynes

José Pete Martinez, 1937, by George Platt-Lynes

José Pete Martinez and Paul Cadmus, 1942, by PaJaMa

José Pete Martinez by Paul Cadmus

Pete Martinez was born Jose Martinez-Berlanga in Mar. 13, 1913. He was also sometimes known as Pete Stefan. Mexican born, he was raised in California where he received his early dance training. He moved to New York and immediately joined the School of American Ballet. While there he met, and began an intimate relationship with, Lincoln Kirstein, founder of the American Ballet Company. Pete was also a member of the company. When Lincoln married Fidelma Cadmus, sister of painter Paul Cadmus, in 1941, she moved in with both Lincoln and Pete. Three continues to live together until 1942 when Pete tried to enlist in the army, but was denied. He then moved to Haverford, Pennsylvania to work at a Jewish refugee hostel where he decided he would wait to be drafted.

Christopher Isherwood also worked with Pete at the hostel, they had previously met through Lincoln in 1939. Chris's diaries give a detailed description of their months in Pennsylvania, including mention of several trips to New York to visit Lincoln and Fidelma. Although it is assumed that the majority of their time in Haverford was platonic, it is clear from Chris's diaries that they greatly enjoyed each other’s company and had at least one sexual encounter in August of 1942. Both Christopher and Pete left Haverford in September and went their separate ways, but they continued their friendship and met again at various times in New York and California.

He was briefly in California in 1943, when he met Christopher again, before leaving to fight in Northern France until 1945. When he returned Pete continued to dance until 1947 when an injury required him to retire. He became a teacher and opened his own studios in Norfolk, VA, Ohio and eventually California where he worked until the 1960's. He died in California in Jan. 30, 1997. (http://gayhistory.wikidot.com/pete-martinez)

Burial: Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Sumter County, Florida, USA, Plot: 321, 0, 721

Robert McVoy was a fellow dancer of Pete Martinez in Lincoln Kirstein’s company. Theodore "Ted" Starkowski was George Platt Lynes's lover. Mel Fillini was a Broadway actor. Ralph McWilliams was the new “addition” to the circle of friends after Pete Martinez went away to Norfolk searching for being enlisted.

Robert McVoy by George Platt-Lynes

Mel Fillini and Teodor Starkowski, 1954, by George Platt-Lynes

Ted Starkowsky, 1930 & 1950, by George Platt-Lynes

Ralph McWilliams, 1952, by George Platt-Lynes

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: dancer: jose martinez, days of love, model: chuck howard

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