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Dorothea Lange (American, 1895-1965), Woman Emerging from the Water, Lake Tahoe, gelatin silver print, signed

Dorothea Lange (American, 1895-1965), Woman Emerging from the Water, Lake Tahoe, gelatin silver print, signed

Item Description:

Signed and dated "Dorothea Lange 19-7" lower right, bearing a handwritten note on reverse "Emerging from Lake Tahoe with Dori, Maynard & Pam. Summer in Clayburgh cottage - Photograph by Dorothea Lange", framed and glazed


Toned, the sheet edges with light wear. Please contact for specific condition questions. Not examined out of the frame.


Purchased by the current owner from a fundraiser for the Mendocino Art Center in 1999


Image: Height 4 in. x Width 4.5 in.

Frame: Height 8.5 in. x Width 8.75 in.

About The Artist:

Dorothea Lange was born in 1895 in Hoboken, New Jersey as Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn. Lange's childhood was marked by hardship. Before graduating high school in 1913, Lange worked as an office assistant to the well-known photographer Arnold Genthe. She then attended the New York Training School for Teachers from 1914 to 1917 before deciding to become a photographer herself. Lange enrolled in a photography course at Columbia University taught by Clarence H. White. She soon learned how to use a darkroom and fashioned one of her own from a chicken coop.

Lange moved to San Francisco, California in 1918, where she met west coast photographer Imogen Cunningham and her husband, printmaker Roi Partridge. Through the 1920s, Lange worked as a successful portrait photographer before expanding to landscapes and botanical photography. In 1920, she married painter Maynard Dixon, with whom she had two sons. Together, the Lange Dixon family traveled the American West. Lange would remarry in 1935 to Paul Taylor.

After the stock market crash in the autumn of 1929, Lange became interested in photographing people outside of her studio. She took photographs of demonstrations, strikes, and people affected by the current social and economic climate. In 1934, Lange's first solo exhibition was held at the Brockhurst Studio in Oakland, California. She became acquainted with Paul Taylor, a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley. Taylor hired Lange to take photographs to accompany his articles in Survey Graphic magazine and her photography appeared on the front cover of the September 1934 issue. Taylor also hired Lange to work for the California State Emergency Relief Administration, and together, they documented the living conditions of California's migrant farm workers.

In the summer of 1935, Lange was hired by Roy Stryker, head of the Resettlement Administration, later named the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange worked as a field investigator and photographer for the FSA until 1942. Her photographs from this period reflect the problems of migrant farm workers and the rural poor. The Dust Bowl incited thousands of homeless farmers to re-locate to California, especially to the Nipomo and Imperial Valleys. It was during her time with the FSA that Lange took the photograph ''Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California'' (1936). This image became an icon of the era and secured a place in the annals of American history.

Lange also documented the Southern United States' tenant farmers and sharecroppers, the rise of farm technology, the Japanese Internment Camps during World War II, and Mormon and Amish communities. She also worked in Ireland, East Asia, South America, Egypt, and the Middle East. Later in her career Lange published photo essays in Life magazine and Aperture, a photography magazine. Her photographs are detached and documentary in style. Instead of directly portraying activities and conditions, her photographs illustrate a central mood. In 1942, Lange received a Guggenheim Fellowship and was honored with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1966, the first ever held for a female photographer.

Emerging from the Water is likely from Lange's personal photo archive. The gelatin silver print was probably taken in the late 1920s during a trip to Lake Tahoe with her husband Dixon and friends. The female figure stands against the sunlight, her face and body in shadow. In the sun drenched field, the dark figure is silhouetted against the glistening surface of the lake.


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Dorothea Lange (American, 1895-1965), Woman Emerging from the Water, Lake Tahoe, gelatin silver print, signed

Listed price: $5,000.00

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