Overview

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Details
DOROTHEA LANGE (1895–1965)
White Angel Bread Line, San Francisco, 1933
gelatin silver print, printed 1950s
stamped photographer's 'Euclid Avenue' credit and variously numbered in pencil (verso)
image: 13 1/4 x 10 in. (33.6 x 25.4 cm.)
sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.7 x 28 cm.)
Provenance
By descent within the family of the artist;
Christie's, New York, April 26, 2005, lot 96;
acquired from the above sale by the present owner.
Literature
Exhibition catalogue, The Family of Man, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1955, p. 151.
Dorothea Lange: Photographs of a Lifetime, Aperture, New York, 1982, p. 45.
Therese Thau Heyman, Sandra S. Phillips and John Szarkowski, Dorothea Lange: American Photographs, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1994, pl. 1.
Karen Tsujimoto, Dorothea Lange, Archive of an Artist, Oakland Museum, 1995, p. 9.
Keith F. Davis, The Photographs of Dorothea Lange, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1996, cover and p. 21.
Barbara Haskell, The American Century: Art and Culture, 1900-1950, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1999, pl. 483.
Pierre Borhan, Dorothea Lange: The Heart and Mind of a Photographer, Bulfinch, Boston, 2002, p. 71.

Lot Essay

White Angel Bread Line, San Francisco is Dorothea Lange’s earliest renowned documentary-style image, depicting a solitary figure with hands clasped, a well-worn hat pulled low on his brow, turned away from a gathering of poverty-stricken men waiting in a breadline at a San Francisco soup kitchen. This particular soup kitchen was independently run, with no outside funding, by Lois Jordan, a wealthy widow known to locals as the White Angel. Jordan is credited with feeding roughly one million men over several years.

Taken during the throes of the Great Depression, Lange’s photographic work at the time led to her employment with the Federal Resettlement Administration (RA), which later became the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Under these programs, photographers and writers were recruited to document the plight of the impoverished class across America. The Information Division of the FSA, under the direction of Roy Stryker, adopted a goal of 'introducing America to Americans.'

Prints of this image reside in institutional collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Oakland Museum of California.

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