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Margaret Bourke-White



Black and white photograph printed in May 1987 by Igor Bakht from the original negative, laid down on masonite. Label: Deitch Projects, New York. 23 x 15 3/4 x 1 7/8 in. Margaret Bourke-White (June 14, 1904 – August 27, 1971) was an American photographer and documentary photographer. She is best known as the first foreign photographer permitted to take pictures of the Soviet five-year plan, the first American female war photojournalist, and to have her photograph on the cover of the first issue of Life magazine. Margaret Bourke-White, born Margaret White in the Bronx, New York, was the daughter of Joseph White, a non-practicing Jew from Poland, and Minnie Bourke, who was of Irish Catholic descent. She was hired by Henry Luce as the first female photojournalist for Life magazine in 1936. She held the title of staff photographer until 1940, but returned from 1941 to 1942, and again in 1945. During the mid-1930s, Bourke-White, like Dorothea Lange, photographed drought victims of the Dust Bowl. In the February 15, 1937 issue of Life magazine, her famous photograph of black flood victims standing in front of a sign which declared, "World's Highest Standard of Living", showing a white family, was published. The photograph later would become the basis for the artwork of Curtis Mayfield's 1975 album, There's No Place Like America Today. In the spring of 1945, she traveled throughout a collapsing Germany with Gen. George S. Patton. She arrived at Buchenwald, the notorious concentration camp, and later said, "Using a camera was almost a relief. It interposed a slight barrier between myself and the horror in front of me." After the war, she produced a book entitled, Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly, a project that helped her come to grips with the brutality she had witnessed during and after the war. She had a knack for being at the right place at the right time: she interviewed and photographed Mohandas K. Gandhi just a few hours before his assassination in 1948. Alfred Eisenstaedt, her friend and colleague, said one of her strengths was that there was no assignment and no picture that was unimportant to her. She also started the first photography laboratory at Life magazine. Bourke-White's photographs are in the Brooklyn Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the New Mexico Museum of Art[18] and the Museum of Modern Art in New York as well as in the collection of the Library of Congress. Many of her manuscripts, memorabilia, photographs, and negatives are housed in Syracuse University's Bird Library Special Collections section. Museum of Modern Art, New York:1949 (Six Women Photographers, 1951 (Memorable Life Photographs) Public collections Brooklyn Museum Cleveland Museum of Art Library of Congress Museum of Modern Art, New York New Mexico Museum of Art Rijksmuseum Amsterdam


  • Artist
    Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971, American)
  • Creation year
  • Condition
    Good. minor area of flaw lower right. please see images.
  • Dimensions

    H 23 in. x W 15.75 in.

    H 58.42 cm x W 40.01 cm

  • Gallery location
    Bal Harbour, FL
  • Reference number

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