GGG Photo Studio at Christmas

  • James VanDerZee, GGG Photo Studio at Christmas, 1933, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Julia D. Strong Endowment and the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program, 1994.57.4

Exhibition Label
In the GGG Photo Studio, children gather around a luminous Christmas tree for a festive group portrait. Every child proudly holds a neatly wrapped package, a sign of uncommon prosperity in the year 1933. Two iridescent curtains frame a peaceful scenic backdrop to create a sophisticated environment for this special occasion. After he developed the photograph, VanDerZee applied specks of gold paint, adding pizazz to the sepia-toned print.
VanDerZee was Harlem’s resident photographer for more than six decades. During his heyday he photographed every aspect of community life: weddings, funerals, family portraits, church groups, athletic clubs, and even local celebrities. Notably, he served as the official photographer for Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. VanDerZee took great care to create an elegant environment for his subjects, using elaborate backdrops, props, and costumes, as well as extensive retouching.


A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2013
Title
GGG Photo Studio at Christmas
Artists
Date
1933
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
sheet: 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase through the Julia D. Strong Endowment and the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program

Classifications
Keywords
  • Ceremony – holiday – Christmas
  • Ethnic – African-American
  • Cityscape – New York – New York
  • Children
  • Architecture Interior – studio – GGG Photo Studio
Object Number
1994.57.4
Palette
URL
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI