JAMES VAN DER ZEE, by J. Van Der Zee - 1974 [Signed]


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James Van Der Zee

by James Van Der Zee

Very scarce signed copy, inscribed and signed by Van Der Zee on half title page. Filled with more than 100 B&W photos of black Americans from the early 20th century.

Published by Morgan & Morgan. U.S.A. 1974.

For more books of Black Americana, please see the special section of our website

Hardback is overall in VERY GOOD + condition, with a NEAR FINE DJ.

  • ISBN:


  • Includes the original illustrated dust jacket, protected behind mylar and reinforced with archival paper.
  • The appearance and integrity of the dust jacket has been preserved showing only faint scuffing to the rear.
  • The half title page bears a signed inscription from the author.
  • Red cloth boards feature gilt lettering to front and spine and are in excellent condition showing only faint scuffing to the top portion of the front and back.
  • The interior showcases elegant B&W photographic reproductions maintained in vibrant detail.
  • Beginning on page 35, there appears to be a small indentation to the upper edge which gradually becomes more prominent around page 53 where it opens to a very minute tear and persists to page 64. Please photos for clarification.
  • The introduction page shows an oval shadow. Please see photos for clarification.
  • Interior is free of any writing, highlighting, underlining or other intentional marks.
  • JS20170102

159 pages. 9.25" by 10.75".​

Lavish photography monograph reproduces more than 100 B&W images by Van Der Zee. Book is divided into four sections: Lenno, Virginia; New York; and 1906-1915. Includes a chronology summarizing the photographer's career as well asan intro about the man and his work.

In 1969, Van Der Zee gained worldwide recognition when his work was featured in the exhibition, "Harlem on my Mind," at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. As art historian Sharon Patton observed, Van Der Zee not only documented the Harlem Renaissance, but also helped create it.​

James Van Der Zee (1886-1983) was an African-American photographer best known for his portraits of black New Yorkers. A leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance, he produced the most comprehensive documentation of the period.

In 1916 he launched the Guarantee Photo Studio on West 125th Street in Harlem. His business boomed during World War I, and the portraits he shot from this period until 1945 have demanded the majority of critical attention. During the 1920s and 1930s, he produced hundreds of photographs recording Harlem's growing middle class. Its residents entrusted the visual documentation of their weddings, funerals, celebrities and sports stars, and social life to his carefully composed images. Among his many renowned subjects were poet Countee Cullen, dancer Bill (“Bojangles”) Robinson, Charles M. "Daddy" Grace, Joe Louis, Florence Mills, and black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey.

Van Der Zee worked predominantly in the studio and used a variety of props, including architectural elements, backdrops, and costumes, to achieve stylized tableaux vivant in keeping with late Victorian and Edwardian visual traditions. Sitters often copied celebrities of the 1920s and 1930s in their poses and expressions, and he retouched negatives and prints heavily to achieve an aura of glamour. He also created funeral photographs between the wars. These works were collected in The Harlem Book of the Dead (1978), with a foreword by Toni Morrison. [Wikipedia]

AS IS! Please see photos. More photos available upon request.

International first class shipping includes a handling charge to cover insurance.

Domestic orders over $250 include a handling charge to cover signature confirmation.



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Subject: Art & Photography
Topic: Photography: Collections
Original/Facsimile: Original
Binding: Hardcover
Special Attributes: Dust Jacket
Publisher: Morgan & Morgan
Place of Publication: New York NY
Year Printed: 19740000
Author: James Van Der Zee
Region: North America
Language: English
Illustrator: James Van Der Zee
Country/Region of Manufacture: United States
Shipping: Shipping rate calculated at checkout


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