I

Narratives of African American Art and Identity

James VanDerZee

Portrait of First Wife and Daughter (In the Woods), n.d.

(Kate and Rachel)

Black-and-white photograph

10" x 8"


Other Works

Previous Work Next Work


Portrait of First Wife and Daughter (In the Woods)

VanDerZee married Kate L. Brown of Virginia in 1907. In 1908, after the birth of their daughter Rachel, they moved to Harlem. At that time Harlem was just opening up to African Americans and held much promise for those looking to participate in the urban American economy. VanDerZee worked waiting tables and operating an elevator during these early years in Harlem. His only photographs from this period are outdoor studies of his wife and daughter and other family members. Kate's sober countenance and stiff stance, typical of Victorian era photography, are softened by the lush woods surrounding them. This is a sensitive portrayal of VanDerZee's young family that would unfortunately dissolve prematurely. Kate left VanDerZee in 1916 because of the uncertainty of the photography business, and, sadly, his daughter Rachel experienced an untimely death in 1927.  A. L. C.

[TOP]


Home
Exhibition
Participants
Calendar/Venues
Education
David Driskell
Catalog
Bibliography
Related Sites
I. Strategic Subversions
I II III IV V A
Related Links

James VanDerZee biography

James VanDerZee on the web


Next Artist

Previous Artist Section I Home Next Artist