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Dorothea Lange: American Photography

December 24, 1994–February 19, 1995

Dorothea Lange was an unabashed champion of the common person. Using the record making properties of the camera, she documented the plight of ordinary people during the Great Depression, and was able to study and record the social and economic conditions of migratory laborers entering California in the 1930s and 40s. As a result she gained an understanding of the larger issue at stake: the transformation of the United States from a rural to an urban industrial society. Her later photographs - ranging from those of the "utopian" farming communities in Utah to the burgeoning wartime industry of the Richmond, California shipyards - further developed this theme. Through her examination of the demise of the agrarian ideal, the family, as symbolic of the community as a whole, emerged as the central metaphor of her work.


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Main Building


Dorothea Lange was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and made possible by The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc.; the NationalEndowment for the Arts, a Federal agency; the Esprit Foundation; and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.


Martha Chahroudi

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