For romantics there's a nearly sweet, youthful Clark Gable with large ears, a dashing John Barrymore in profile and a thoughtful Amelia Earhart in a leather jacket, posed in an unpublished study for a painting.
Satchmo to Grandma Moses, this is the sexiest group of sitters to have graced the National Portrait Gallery in some time. These 61 photographs from the gallery's permanent collection are an eclectic roundup of famous faces, political, artistic and historical, an enjoyable array that makes up in star quality what it lacks in depth.
The subjects' emotions and degree of formality vary, from a huggable closeup of Alexander Calder to the penetrating stare of Martin Luther King to a cocky 1901 group portrait of "The Wild Bunch," featuring Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Longbaugh, better known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Edward Curtis' orotone (a positive image on glass) of Indian statesman Chief Joseph is among the most affecting portraits in the show.
The Einstein, captured by Phillipe Halsman, is included, his infinitely deep eyes offset by wiry hair, droopy mustache and a pen clipped to his sweatshirt.
But the striking image of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron is curator Will Stapp's favorite find: He'd been looking for this print since 1976.
SELECTIONS FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY COLLECTION -- Through August 22 at the National Portrait Gallery.