Item No: #360843 Drought Refugees from Oklahoma Camping by the Roadside. They hope to work in the cotton fields. There are seven in family. Blythe, California. Dorothea Lange.
Drought Refugees from Oklahoma Camping by the Roadside. They hope to work in the cotton fields. There are seven in family. Blythe, California

The Powerless Power Family

Drought Refugees from Oklahoma Camping by the Roadside. They hope to work in the cotton fields. There are seven in family. Blythe, California

Notes: One of Lange's powerful portraits of destitute farmworkers taken in California in 1936 while she was working for the Resettlement Administration and the Farm Security Administration (two WPA agencies). The most famous image from this period in her career is Migrant Mother, the iconic Depression-era photograph.

This image shows Jess Power with his wife Zella (McCann) Power and baby Jesse Power. They were camped in Riverside County, in Southern California, when Lange came upon them. They were three of the Okies, fleeing from the Dust Bowl conditions in Oklahoma, the story told in words by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath.

At the time she took this photograph, Lange was working for the federal government and so the negatives belonged to her employer. For decades they have been on deposit at the Library of Congress and for many years, anyone could ask the library to make prints, directly from Lange's original negatives. This is one of those silver gelatin prints.

Image, 7-9/16 by 8 on 8-by-10 inch sheet.

Edition + Condition: A near fine print, stamped on the back (verso) with a single line of black ink, "Reproduced from the collection of the Library of Congress" with notes about the negative used, "58350 / P34-9666" in pencil. With good contrast and medium tonal range. In raking light, small creases and dents are visible on the paper.

Prints from the Library of Congress are hard to date, but I suspect these are from the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Publication: Washington, DC: Library of Congress, (1936 but printed ca. 1980?).

Item No: #360843

Price: $2,500