Press | Phillips

06 September 2022

Phillips Presents Dorothea Lange: The Family Collection, Featuring Never-Before-Seen and Iconic Images Spanning Lange’s Career

Phillips Presents Dorothea Lange: The Family Collection,

Featuring Never-Before-Seen and Iconic Images Spanning Lange’s Career


Over 100 Works from the Personal Collection of the Photographer’s Descendants to be Sold Across Two Online-Only Sales


Bidding Open from 3 to 13 October

Alongside Public Exhibition at 432 Park Avenue


White Angel Breadline, San Francisco, 1933

Estimate: $20,000 - 30,000


NEW YORK – 6 SEPTEMBER 2022 – Phillips is pleased to announce the sale of Dorothea Lange: The Family Collection, a trove of over 100 photographs coming directly from the descendants of this seminal American photographer. The collection will be sold in two separate online offerings scheduled alongside Phillips’ October 2022 and April 2023 Photographs auctions in New York. The first of these two online-only sales will be exhibited at Phillips’ Park Avenue galleries in New York from 2-13 October, with bidding open on 3 October. 


The two sales feature some of Lange’s most indelible images from her multi-decade career in photography, as well as many images which will be new to collectors. All were in the photographer’s collection at the time of her death, passed along to her descendants, and represent the entirety of her career, from the first socially-conscious images she made outside her portrait studio in San Francisco, through her work for the Farm Security Administration during the Depression, to her post-war documentary projects, much of it done in the company of her husband and collaborator Paul Taylor.


Highlights of the October offering include a print of one of Lange’s earliest and most decisive documentary images, White Angel Breadline, whose central figure embodies the poverty of the Depression and the grit to overcome it. The sale will feature a suite of 16 images from Lange’s celebrated Public Defender series of 1955, in which her detailed portrayal of a public defense attorney and his clients set the template for a new kind of photojournalism. It is the largest group from this series to appear at auction.


The sale also includes an unprecedented selection of her international photography, begun in the 1950s, when she traveled with Paul Taylor to Ireland, Egypt, and Asia, creating a panoramic portrait of humanity across all cultures.


Born in Hoboken in 1895, Dorothea Lange learned to photograph as a young woman before her departure for the west coast in 1918. Talented and ambitious, Lange opened a portrait studio that catered to San Francisco’s upper crust. After witnessing first-hand the social upheaval caused by the Depression, she took to the streets with her camera, taking images of labor demonstrations, the newly unemployed, and men, women, and children who were without home or income – images that would set the trajectory for the rest of her career.


During the Depression she traveled the country under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration, documenting the poverty endured by Americans and creating some of the most indelible and culturally relevant images of the 20th century. She brought her incisive and empathetic documentary style to a variety of national and international subjects during and after World War II.


Lange was witness to a world in transition and her camera captured it all. Her photographs show that the story of the 20th century is the story of the individuals: their struggle, their success, and their perseverance.



First Born, Berkeley, California, 1952

Estimate $5,000 - 7,000

Kern County, California (Olson for Governor), 1938

Estimate $7,000 - 9,000


Street Demonstration, San Francisco, 1933

Estimate $8,000 - 12,000

Free Speech, 1938

Estimate $6,000 - 8,000

New York City (Man in Raincoat), 1952

Estimate $4,000 - 6,000



Auction: 3 – 13 October 2022

Auction viewing: 2 – 13 October 2022

Location: 432 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022

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