Dorothea Lange - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Dorothea Lange took this image in February of 1940 during the brief period she worked as Head Photographer for the Bureau of Agricultural Economics (BAE). Lange undertook a number of photographic trips through California and Arizona for the BAE, documenting life in agricultural communities. This photograph was made in Eloy, Arizona, a settlement Lange referred to as a ‘raw cotton town.’ The image shows a migrant cotton picker as he pauses at the cotton scale. Lange’s original caption for the photograph describes the hard life of a migratory cotton worker: ‘Resting at cotton wagon before returning to work in the field. He has been picking all day. A good picker earns about two dollars a day working, at this time of year, about ten hours’ (The Photographs of Dorothea Lange, p. 55). 

    • Provenance

      Family of the artist
      Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

    • Literature

      Szarkowski, Dorothea Lange, p. 28
      Szarkowski, Photography Until Now, p. 217
      Coles and Heyman, Dorothea Lange: Photographs of a Lifetime, cover and p. 122
      Heyman, Szarkowski, and Phillips, Dorothea Lange: American Photographs, pl. 32
      Partridge, Dorothea Lange: A Visual Life, p. 82
      Davis, The Photographs of Dorothea Lange, p. 55
      Rosenblum, Dorothea Lange: The Human Face, front cover, frontispiece, and p. 49
      Borhan, Dorothea Lange: The Heart and Mind of a Photographer, pp. 135 and 189
      Blessing, Speaking with Hands: Photographs from The Buhl Collection. New York, Guggenheim Foundation, pp. 43 and 227

Photographs from a Prominent New York Collection


Migratory Cotton Picker, Eloy, Arizona

Gelatin silver print, printed 1950s.
10 1/4 x 13 in. (26 x 33 cm)
Printing notations in an unidentified hand in pencil on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$40,000 - 60,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023