Pardon our dust while we update this corner of the website.

Self-Portrait with Gaynella
A larger image is unavailable for this object
due to copyright, trademark or related rights.

Self-Portrait with Gaynella

James VanDerZee, American, 1886 - 1983

Probably made in New York, New York, United States, North and Central America


Gelatin silver print

Image: 7 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches (18.4 x 23.5 cm) Sheet: 8 x 9 15/16 inches (20.3 x 25.2 cm)

© Donna Mussenden Van Der Zee

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2003

Social Tags

african american art [x]   african american artists [x]   gelatin silver print [x]   photograph [x]   young friends [x]  

[Add Your Own Tags]

In 1916 James VanDerZee opened the Guarantee Photo Studio in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, and it went on to become the “go-to” portrait studio for many Harlem residents. VanDerZee’s pictures both in out and his studio captured the stories of the changing neighborhood, the joys of family, and the emotions and dreams of the people he photographed. This picture was taken in his own home. The photographer stands next to his wife, Gaynella, who holds one of her deeply loved cats. Around them are walls almost entirely covered with artwork—mostly photographs by VanDerZee himself—and objects that tell us about the comforts of home as well as the success of the couple’s photography business.