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James VanDerZee

James VanDerZee, Couple, Harlem; 1933, published 1974.

Having opened his first studio in 1917, James VanDerZee documented Harlem’s artistic and cultural renaissance, photographing landmarks, parades, funerals, social clubs, political and religious organizations, affluent families, and celebrities.

The photographer’s work gained widespread attention in 1969, when it was shown in the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Harlem on My Mind. A portfolio of VanDerZee prints in Sheldon’s collection includes a range of iconic images from studio portraits to documentary photography of activist Marcus Garvey.

James VanDerZee
Lenox, MA 1886–Washington, D.C. 1983
Garveyite Family, Harlem
Gelatin silver print, 1924; published 1974
9 1/2 × 7 3/4 inches
Sheldon Museum of Art, Nebraska Art Association, purchased with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, N-423.8.1976