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Introduction to the Show: James Van Der Zee’s Photographs


Photographer James Van Der Zee chronicled Harlem, New York and its majority Black residents during the 1920s and 1930s and beyond. His carefully composed photographs captured the personalities and spirit of the neighborhood. Diane Waggoner, the National Gallery’s curator of 19th-century photographs, tells the story of James Van Der Zee’s studio and the people he memorialized in dignified portraits that still resonate today.