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Dorothea Lange (1895-1965)
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965)

Migrant Mother, 1936

Details
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965)
Migrant Mother, 1936
gelatin silver print
credit and titled by Marion Post Wolcott in ink (mount, recto); annotated 'FSA Photo (Vintage, original) by Dorothea Lange (signed by MPW) from the collection of Marion Post Wolcott' and 'Linda' in ink (mount, verso)
image/sheet: 9 ¼ x 7 1/8 in. (23.5 x 16 cm.)
mount: 13 ½ x 10 ½ in. (34.3 x 26.7 cm.)
Provenance
The Collection of Marion Post Wolcott (1910-1990);
Ursula Gropper, Sausalito, California, 1985;
Crossing America: Photographs from the Consolidated Freightways Collection, Part I, Christie's, New York, April 7, 2011, lot 251;
Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, 2011.
Literature
George P. Elliot, Dorothea Lange, Doubleday/The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1966, p. 25.
Milton Meltzer, Dorothea Lange: A Photographer's Life, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 1978, p. 213.
Robert Coles, Dorothea Lange: Photographs of a Lifetime, Aperture, New York, 1982, n.p.
Sandra S. Phillips et al., Dorothea Lange: American Photographs, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1994, pl. 43.
Elizabeth Partridge (ed.), Dorothea Lange: A Visual Life, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1994, ill. 6.16., p. 108.
Keith F. Davis, The Photographs of Dorothea Lange, Hallmark Cards, Inc./Harry N. Abrams, Kansas City, Missouri, 1995, p. 45.
Exhibited
Santa Clara, California, Art in a Corporate Context: Selections from Bay Area Collections, de Saisset Museum, April 11 - June 7, 1987.

Lot Essay

I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence of my camera to her but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was 32. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she was in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.

The pea crop at Nipomo had frozen and there was no work for anybody. But I did not approach the tents and shelters of other stranded pea-pickers. It was not necessary; I knew I had recorded the essence of my assignment.

Dorothea Lange

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