New Cleveland Museum of Art Show Looks at Photography During the Depression

Photo of the Dust Bowl by Arthur Rothstein

Sun 8/13-Sun 12/31

The Great Depression of the 1930s was certainly not an era fondly remembered by most people’s grandparents or great-grandparents. Following the stock market crash in October 1929, millions lost their jobs, and the devastation was compounded by the Dust Bowl drought, which uprooted tens of thousands of farming families.

But it was a vibrantly creative time for photography, an era explored in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s new photography show From Riches to Rags: American Photography in the Depression, drawn from its own extensive collection.

It looks at the work many people associate with the Depression era: photographers such as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and Arthur Rothstein who traveled the country documenting the impact of hard times. But it also shows the other types of photography that blossomed during that time including elegant advertising photography by masters such as Edward Steichen and personal and formal photography done by artists such as Imogen Cunningham, Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz, who contributed several of the works that launched the museums photo collection in 1935.

The show will be on view through the end of the year in the Mark Schwartz and Bettina Katz photography gallery.


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