Aug 2, 2007

Funeral Cortege, End of an Era in a Small Valley Town, California

Funeral Cortege, End of an Era in a Small Valley Town, California

1938, printed c. 1965

Dorothea Lange

(American, 1895–1965)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 28 x 25.5 cm (11 x 10 1/16 in.); Matted: 61 x 50.8 cm (24 x 20 in.)

Gift of Photography in the Fine Arts 1965.328



Dorothea Lange put a face to the political, economic, and social circumstances of displaced migrant farm workers during the Great Depression. In the late 1930s, while employed by the Farm Security Administration, her photographs were widely published and aided the government agency’s goal of “introducing America to Americans.” Lange’s image of an older woman in a funeral procession invokes not only the end of an individual life but the shaky vitality of the town as a whole. In An American Exodus, Lange collaborated with her husband, Paul Schuster Taylor, a progressive agricultural economist. Their book combined photographs with data and text to raise awareness of their subjects’ plight.

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