The J. Paul Getty Museum

Girl at Gee's Bend

Object Details

Title:

Girl at Gee's Bend

Artist/Maker:

Arthur Rothstein (American, 1915 - 1985)

Culture:

American

Date:

1937

Medium:

Gelatin silver print

Object Number:

84.XP.686.21

Dimensions:

40 × 49.7 cm (15 3/4 × 19 9/16 in.)

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Object Description

You see the girl--that's effect one. You see the ad [the blond woman]--that's effect two. But the third effect is when you see both images together and recognize the irony.

Arthur Rothstein understood and believed in the power of photography to make social commentary. Working for the United States government, Rothstein photographed Artelia Bendolph in Alabama, to illustrate the effects of the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenancy Act of 1937. The serious, weighted expression on the child's face poignantly illustrates her disenfranchised social and economic position. The framing of the crude cabin window and the newspaper insulation with its unattainable food advertisements reinforce her isolation from the recovering American economy.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1984

Samuel Wagstaff, Jr., American, 1921 - 1987, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Neither Speech nor Language: Photography and the Written Word (February 28 to May 12, 1991)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), February 28 to May 12, 1991
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
The Public Record: Photographs of the Great Depression from the J. Paul Getty Museum (March 10 to May 19, 2002)
  • Pomona College Museum of Art (Claremont), March 10 to May 19, 2002
At the Window: The Photographer's View (October 1, 2013 to January 5, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 1, 2013 to January 5, 2014