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Object Image

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California

For many, Lange’s Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California is the single most recognizable image from the Great Depression, epitomizing the desperate circumstances many found themselves in during that period. The now-iconic photograph was made for the US government’s Resettlement Administration (renamed the Farm Security Administration, or FSA, in 1937), a federal agency created to document and remedy the plight of the urban and rural poor in the 1930s. The photograph’s pictorial strength and emotional impact, combined with its recurring presence in newspapers, magazines, exhibitions, and displays, cemented its place in America’s collective memory of the era.

In the image, thirty-two-year-old migran...

March 1936
Gelatin silver print
28.3 x 21.8cm
331.1995
Image and text © MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2019

Where you'll find this

The Museum of Modern Art
Permanent collection