Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Road West

Artist:
Dorothea Lange (American, 1895–1965)
Date:
1938
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
17.3 x 24 cm (6 13/16 x 9 7/16 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel and Harriette and Noel Levine Gift, 1990
Accession Number:
1990.1005
Not on view
Lange photographed this stretch of U.S. 54 in southern New Mexico while she was employed by the Farm Security Administration. During the Depression, this highway was the west-bound route taken by many families who hoped to find work in California. Upon discovering conditions no better than those they left behind, they often returned east. In "An American Exodus" (1939), published by Lange and her husband, Paul Taylor, this image is accompanied by an observation made by someone they met in the field: "They keep the road hot a goin' and a comin' . . . They've got roamin' in their head." In the vernacular terms of the moment or in the timeless terms of the photograph, this picture is clearly an invitation to travel.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on print, verso, top left corner: "AMD[?] [underlined]"; center: "4 [sideways]"
Sons of the artist; [Edwynn Houk, New York]

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Dorothea Lange: American Photographs," May 19, 1994–September 4, 1994.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 14," September 9, 1996–December 9, 1996.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 46," May 8, 2007–August 26, 2007.

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