Art of the Week

Arthur Rothstein (1915-85)
Vernon Evans, Migrant to Oregon from South Dakota, 1936
Gelatin silver, 28 x 35 cm.
Gift of Lewis W. Siegel ‘70

Arthur Rothstein was born in New York in 1915. He attended the Angelo Patri School in the Bronx and while a student at Columbia University he developed an interest in photography. Two of his tutors, Roy Stryker and Rex Tugwell, asked him to help with the picture editing of a textbook they were working on. During the Great Depression Rothstein was invited by Roy Stryker to join the federally sponsored Farm Security Administration (FSA) that was established in 1935 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The FSA employed a small group of photographers to publicize the conditions of the rural poor in America. In 1936 Rothstein was sent to document the Dust Bowl. In 1940, Arthur Rothstein joined the staff of Look Magazine as a photographer. During the Second World War he went back to the Farm Security Administration which had become part of the Office of War Information. This included taking photographs in China, Burma and India. After the war Arthur Rothstein returned to Look Magazine where he worked as Director of Photography until the magazine closed in 1971. He then held the same position for Parade Magazine. Rothstein was the inventor of the X-O-Graph, a three-dimensional printing process. He also taught at several schools and enjoyed mentoring young photographers throughout his long and diverse career. He also published nine books on photography including Look at Us, Let’s See, Here We Are (1967), Photojournalism (1974), A Vision Shared (1976), The Depression Years (1978), Words and Pictures (1980), American West in the Thirties (1982), America in Photographs (1985) and Documentary Photography (1985). Arthur Rothstein died in New Rochelle in 1985.

Vernon Evans (with his family) of Lemmon, South Dakota, near Missoula, Montana on Highway 10. Leaving grasshopper-ridden and drought-stricken area for a new start in Oregon or Washington. Expects to arrive at Yakima in time for hop picking. Live in tent. Makes about two hundred miles a day in Model T Ford.


Rothstein, Arthur, The photographs of Arthur Rothstein / Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, c2011. TR820.5 .R683 2011a

Profile: Arthur Rothstein. Photographic Journal, July 1984, Vol. 124, p315-321, 7p


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