Jack Delano, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn John Vachon, Marion Post Wolcott
The Margulies Photography Collection includes over 100 photographs from the Farm Security Administration which have been on view to the public numerous times during the 23-year tenure of the Warehouse. These images have provided our contemporary generation with a visual record of the hardships faced by the American people during the Great Depression and are some of the finest examples of 20th century American photography. The Margulies Collection includes over 100 photographs from the FSA archive, 65 of which are shown here.
Edward Steichen, famed photography curator and photographer, was the Head of the Department of Photography of MoMA from 1947 to 1962 and is most well-known for his groundbreaking Family of Man exhibition in 1955. The Margulies Collection pays tribute to a lesser-known exhibition by Steichen, his last project with the Museum of Modern Art in 1962 entitled The Bitter Years: 1935-1941. The exhibition comprised approximately 200 photographs from the FSA archive selected by Steichen.
In 2005, students from Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers, Florida conducted extensive research using the Library of Congress archives on the Farm Security Administration photographs from the Margulies Collection. They mounted a version of the The Bitter Years in the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery on campus of 92 photographs from the collection.
This version of The Bitter Years exhibition was first installed at the Warehouse in 2006. As part of a series of educational programs in conjunction with the exhibition, the Margulies Collection invited one of the most influential photography curators and critics of the twentieth century--John Szarkowski--to speak at the Warehouse. Szarkowski succeeded legendary curator Edward Steichen as the Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art after Steichen’s last project The Bitter Years in 1962. Unanimously acknowledged for his curatorial vision and articulate advocacy of the photographic medium, Szarkowski authored numerous books and catalogs while establishing one of the most comprehensive collections of photography for the Museum of Modern Art in the world.
The 65 photographs presented in this exhibition are by artists Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Carl Mydans, Marion Post Wolcott, Ben Shahn, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, and Jack Delano.
Accompanying the FSA photographs is a selection of 16 of Walker Evans Polaroids produced in 1973 and 1974, the last few years of the artists’ life. The photographs are a continuation of the themes found in his work including studies of signage, architecture and portraiture.
We are pleased to offer didactic materials and programming for the education and research of vintage photography to further visual literacy in our community.
Jeanie Ambrosio, M.A., Associate Curator
The Bitter Years