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DOROTHEA LANGE (1895-1965)

"A Photographers Journey"

(See Biography/Timeline at bottom of page)
(photographs subject to prior sale - prices subject to change)
Provenance: Collection & Estate of Dorothea Lange
Searching for Photographs by Dorothea Lange? Please contact the Gallery

To inquire about a Lange photograph, call or send us an email.

Dorothea Lange with Camera

"Dorothea Lange with Camera" c. 1934

Dorothea Lange Biography


“A Photographers Journey”

Born May 25th, Hoboken New Jersey to Joanna Lange & Henry Nutzhorn.

Contracts polio, resulting in a malformed foot and a lifelong limp.

1907 – 1917
Father abandons family. Dorothea moves to NY with mother & brother to live with mothers family.

Attends Wadleigh High School for Girls - graduates 1914.  Decides to become a photographer and begins working in portrait studio of Arnold Genthe. Takes a photography course at Columbia University taught by Clarence White.

Leaves NY with a friend, planning to travel the world and support herself as a photographer. Due to robbery, trip is aborted in San Francisco. Works as photo finisher at SF Camera Club. Establishes portrait studio at 540 Sutter St. Assumes mother’s maiden name. Meets Imogen Cunningham & husband Roi Partridge and Consuela Kanaga.

1919 – 1929
Marries artist Maynard Dixon (1920). Couple resides in San Francisco. Lange continues portrait business while Dixon concentrates on Native American imagery. First son Daniel born (1925). Second son John born (1928).

Stock market crashes (1929).

1930 – 1939
Dixon & Lange board children & live in respective studios to save money. Begins to document the effects of the depression, maritime strikes & May Day demonstrations (1934). First exhibition at Willard Van Dyke’s studio in Oakland (1934). Divorces Dixon & marries Paul Taylor, economics professor at UC Berkeley (1935) - moves to Berkeley. Works as photographer for FSA Farm Security Administration documenting US rural communities. While on assignment in California, meets 33 year old Florence Owens, subject of 1936 “Migrant Mother”.

1940 – 1957
Ends association with FSA. Museum of Modern Art, NY exhibits work for first time (1940). Receives Guggenheim Fellowship (1941). Photographs relocation of Japanese- Americans in internment camps (1942). Photographs the founding of United Nations in San Francisco (1945). Exhibits at Museum of Modern Art, NY in 1948, 1949, 1952 & the 1955 exhibit “Family of Man”. Co-founds Aperture Magazine (1952). Completes 1953 & 1954 photo essays for Life Magazine “Three Mormon Towns, with Ansel Adams and “Irish Country People”. Collaborates with Pirkle Jones on 1956 photo essay “Death of a Valley” (Lake Berryessa). Photo essay “The Public Defender” (1957).

1958 – 1963
Embarks on world travels with Paul Taylor, including Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Palestine, Nepal, Pakistan, Europe, South America, Egypt, Iraq & Iran. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Exhibits “Death of a Valley” (1960). Begins series “American Country Woman” (1960).  Museum of Modern Art, NY exhibits 85 Lange images in FSA Survey “The Bitter Years” (1962). When at home in Berkeley, concentrates on photographing the “close at hand” - family & grandchildren.

Begins work on Museum of Modern Art, NY retrospective with Director John Szarkowski. Finalizes & publishes series “American Country Woman”.

Dies October 11th, from inoperable cancer of the esophagus. A two - part television documentary is released.

Dorothea Lange Retrospective Exhibition opens January 25th at Museum of Modern Art, NY. 

Thank you for viewing our Dorothea Lange Exhibition - for additional information please contact the gallery.