Oct 18, 2018 - Sale 2489

Sale 2489 - Lot 149

Price Realized: $ 12,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 9,000
DOROTHEA LANGE (1895-1965)
Migrant Mother with child at breast * Migrant Mother with two children. Silver prints, the images measuring 7 1/4x 9 3/8 inches (18.4x23.6 cm.), the sheets slightly larger, the mounts 15x11 1/4 inches (38.1x28.6 cm.), with the RA's (Resettlement Administration's) numeric notations in the negatives. 1936; printed late 1960s-70s

Additional Details

The Library of Congress, the repository for the Resettlement Admininstration's (later renamed the Farm Security Administration) photographs notes Lange's account of her encounter with Florence Thompson and her children: "I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or 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 thirty-two. 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 sat 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." (Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).

The negatives were made using a 4x5-inch Graflex view camera. The RA's later, numeric notations do not correspond to the actual sequence; therefore the order in which Lange took the photographs is not known.