Tom Wolfe

Everett Kinstler2000

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Born Richmond, Virginia

Armed with a Ph.D. from Yale University in American studies, Tom Wolfe became a journalist, working for several prominent newspapers and magazines. His articles on such varied topics as stock-car racing, pop culture, and sports figures such as Muhammad Ali soon brought him wide attention—as well as strong criticism—for their writing style, known as "New Journalism." Collections of Wolfe's controversial articles from this era include The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965). Subsequent books include The Right Stuff (1979), his study of the early years of the American space program, and From Bauhaus to Our House (1981), his criticism of modern architecture. His satires, such as The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), continued his social commentary in fictional form. In this portrait, his friend Ray Kinstler depicted him in a white three-piece suit, a style that he first adopted in the 1960s.

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