Artwork Details

James Van Der Zee

1886 – 1983

Untitled (Studio Portrait of a Woman in Fur Coat and Hat)
1916 – 1935
Gelatin silver print
6 x 3 5/8 inches
Not on view
Accession Number
Gift of James A. and Gail Straub
Image Copyright
© James Van Der Zee

About the Artwork

Artist James Van Der Zee chronicled New York City’s Black population in both street and studio photography. He established his first portrait studio in Harlem in 1916, and became the most successful photographer in the area, documenting both prominent Black Americans as well as ordinary individuals and families.

Van Der Zee strove to capture the personality, character, and beauty of his sitters. In this studio portrait of an unknown woman, Van Der Zee used a painted backdrop, fur rug, and flattering lighting to create an elegant setting for his subject. His photographs are celebrations of Harlem lives that included an appreciation of small luxuries — like this woman’s plush fur coat.