"A Great Day in Harlem":
original print inscribed by photographer Art Kane.New York: 1958 Stock Code: 121696
Perhaps the iconic jazz photograph and one of the most extraordinary group shots in the history of photography. Inscribed below the image at lower right: "For my friend Arville, Art Kane".
Around 10 a.m. on the morning of 12 August 1958 Art Kane, a freelancer working for Esquire, captured this unforgettable image of some 57 "living legends" of jazz gathered in front of a brownstone at 17 East 126th Street, between Fifth and Madison in Harlem. "Art Kane was not a photographer but an accomplished art director when Esquire magazine hired him to shoot his first professional photograph in 1958. Esquire art director Robert Benton was planning an all-jazz issue, and suggested to his boss that they hire Kane for the shoot. Benton thought Kane showed promise - and he loved jazz. It was Kane's idea to create an enormous photo spread of as many jazz greats as they could persuade to assemble. It was also Kane's idea to shoot the photo on the steps of a brownstone in Harlem, an innovative solution to his lack of studio space. Art Kane was born Arthur Kanofsky in the Bronx in 1925, where his movie-fan mother helped nurture his love of images. After a stint in the Army during World War II, Kane attended Cooper Union in New York City. He got a job designing page layouts at Esquire, but left when he was made art director of Seventeen magazine. Although he won many awards and was considered a major art director, Kane was also interested in photography. He studied photography with Alexey Brodovitch, who had taught famed photographer Richard Avedon, among others. Kane's first assignment was the photo shoot that became the basis for the 1994 film A Great Day in Harlem. The assignment inspired Kane to begin his long career as an innovative photographer. In the 1960s and 70s, Kane became known for his compelling photographic portraits of rock musicians, including Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and the Rolling Stones. He also produced many celebrated photos for the best picture magazines of the times, including Life, Look, McCall's and Vogue. In his thirty-six years as a photographer, Kane earned many awards and honors, including the American Society of Magazine Photographers Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984. Art Kane died at age 69 in 1995" (a-great-day-in-harlem.com).
The headliners in this famous "class photograph" would be Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Gerry Mulligan, Mary Lou Williams, Maxine Sullivan, Horace Silver, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, alongside a constellation of drummers: Art Blakey, Gene Krupa, Sonny Greer and Jo Jones.
Original glossy print, overall: 410 x 505 mm; image: 345 x 490 mm.
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