The J. Paul Getty Museum

Girl at Gee's Bend

Object Details


Girl at Gee's Bend


Arthur Rothstein (American, 1915 - 1985)






Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



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.

- 1984

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

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