Smithsonian Collections

Louis Armstrong

Image for Louis Armstrong
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition Label
Born New Orleans, Louisiana
A trumpet virtuoso with a wide smile and an ebullient personality, Louis Armstrong was a jazz pioneer who helped to transform that musical genre into an international phenomenon. In the process, he became one of the most beloved American entertainers of the twentieth century. Raised in New Orleans, Armstrong moved to Chicago in 1922 to join King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. Several years later he formed his own band, billed himself as the "World’s Greatest Trumpet Player," and helped to develop the jazz style popularly known as swing. His technical prowess, rhythmic ingenuity, memorable improvisations, and lively "scat" singing made Armstrong a standout. As Duke Ellington observed, "Satchmo" became the "epitome of jazz" as he played before capacity audiences across America and abroad. A consummate performer first and foremost, Armstrong modestly declared, "I never tried to prove nothing, just always wanted to give a good show."
Harry Warnecke, 1900 - 1984
Gus Schoenbaechler, active 1940s–1950s
Louis Armstrong, 4 Aug 1901 - 6 Jul 1971
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Elsie M. Warnecke
Color carbro print
Image: 32.1 x 42.1 cm (12 5/8 x 16 9/16")
Sheet: 34 x 46.8 cm (13 3/8 x 18 7/16")
Mount: 38 x 50.7 cm (14 15/16 x 19 15/16")
Mat: 55.9 x 71.1 cm (22 x 28")
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
Music\Musical instrument\Trumpet
Louis Armstrong: Male
Louis Armstrong: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Movie
Louis Armstrong: Performing Arts\Performer\Comedian
Louis Armstrong: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Jazz
Louis Armstrong: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz
Louis Armstrong: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Horn\Trumpet