“The story of the 'Grapes of Wrath'--the story of that tragic dislocation which is driving hundreds of thousands of impoverished Americans off the land, onto the highways, into the already flooded market of migrant laborers is also the subject of 'An American Exodus.'"—Paul Strand
Lange’s photographs ”acknowledge the complexity of the subject, avoid the sentimental, and are informed by the cultural conditions of the time and place in which they were made. She developed the documentary form of photography into a medium of vital visual information and great aesthetic significance.”—American National Biography
FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AMERICAN PHOTOBOOKS.
“A collection of great single photographs does not necessarily make a great photographic book. The latter is, at its core, a work that is conscious not only of the art of photography, but the art of the book.. Every aspect of the publication -- design, text, and photographic content -- must form a coherent (or purposefully disjunctive) narrative; and it must break with or at least transcend tradition as it engages the contemporary world.
“One example that fits the above criteria is Dorothea Lange and Paul Schuster Taylor’s An American Exodus (1939). The book combined Dorothea Lange’s finest images of the farm families dispossessed by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression with a text put together by Paul Schuster Taylor of well-chosen, even poetic, words from the subjects... [As] we encounter one powerful image after another -- of barren fields, of desperate mothers, of cars laden with scant possessions, of desert roads leading West to a greener land -- counterpoised against equally powerful lines of text that parallel or intensify these images, the book leads us, chapter by chapter, on a passage through time and place and the human condition in America of the 1930s. To read An American Exodus is to experience much more than a container of superb photographs” (May Castleberry, “The Presence of the Past”, in The Book of 101 Books). The Photobook. Roth 101.
Complete with 112 black-and-white photographic reproductions of Lange’s iconic images.
Note: First issue dust jacket, with Mein Kampf listed on rear panel.
New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1939. Text by Paul Schuster Taylor. Quarto, original blue cloth, original dust jacket; custom box. Owner signature dated 1940 on half-title. Book near-fine with just a little wear at cloth edges; dust jacket with mild edgewear, a few pieces of clear tape on verso (stabilizing closed tears), a little fading to spine. A very good copy of a book that is famously difficult to find with a good dust jacket.
Price: $2,900 .