James Van Der Zee’s G.G.G. Studio, Harlem, 1940’s

VanDerZeeStudio125A rare photograph of the James Van Der Zee’s studio located on the east side of Lenox Avenue between 123rd and 124th Streets, in the 1940’s.  He returned to Harlem the following year, setting up a portrait studio at a music conservatory that his sister had founded in 1911. In 1916 VanDerZee and his second wife, Gaynella Greenlee, launched the Guarantee Photo Studio in Harlem, called G.G.G. Studio., it was in the above ground basement of a Harlem brownstone on the west side of the street. His business boomed during World War I, and the portraits he shot from this period until 1945 have demanded the majority of critical attention. Among his many renowned subjects were poet Countee Cullen, dancer Bill (“Bojangles”) Robinson, Florence Mills, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., leader Marcus Garvey, Bill Cosby, Muhammad Ali, and Lou Rawls.

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