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Black Maria, Oakland

A work made of gelatin silver print, from the series "public defender".

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print, from the series "public defender".

Date:

1957, printed 1965

Artist:

Dorothea Lange (American, 1895–1965)
Printed under the artist’s supervision by Irwin Welcher

About this artwork

Known for her iconic images of the Great Depression, documentary photographer Dorothea Lange cultivated a photographic approach that was at once ruthless and empathetic. Between 1955 and 1957, she worked on a photo essay, Public Defender, which documented legal challenges for indigents accused at the Alameda County Courthouse, in downtown Oakland, California. Lange followed 36-year-old public defender Martin N. Pulich as he worked in his office, advocated in the courtroom, and visited clients in jail cells. Originally intended for Life magazine, the series was instead published as an uncredited four-page spread in a Filipino newspaper. In January 1966, just months after Lange’s death, a retrospective exhibition was mounted at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, featuring this stark image of a police van (called a “Black Maria”) along with three other photographs from Public Defender.

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Photography

Artist

Dorothea Lange

Title

Black Maria, Oakland

Origin

United States

Date

Made 1957

Medium

Gelatin silver print, from the series "Public Defender"

Dimensions

39.3 × 37 cm

Credit Line

Photography Associates Fund

Reference Number

2013.1220

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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