Lange/Liu: Images of the Depression

Dorothea Lang

A documentary photographer from New York City, Lange is best known for her work in capturing the impact of the depression on film. During the 1930’s she worked for two New Deal agencies, the Resettlement Administration and the Farm Security Administration. Throughout the decade she traveled through California and the Midwest, capturing images of rural poverty, including sharecroppers, displaced farm workers and migrants.

Hung Liu

A Chinese-American artist known for her paintings inspired by historical photos. Liu was born in China where she once labored in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. She immigrated to the United States in 1984 at age 36. She studied at University of California, San Diego, and was resident artist at the Capp Street Project in San Francisco. Liu passed away earlier this year. Her work is currently on exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington where these photos were taken.

In 2015, Liu came upon Lange’s work at the Oakland Museum in California. She would later transform some of Lange’s black-and-white photographs of Depression-era Americans into large colorful painted portraits. Below are some of those works.

Cotton picker, Hung Liu
Cotton Picker
Migrant Mother: Mealtime, Hung Liu
Migrant Mother: Mealtime
Plowboy, Hung Liu
South, Hung Liu
August, Hung Liu
Sanctuary, Hung Liu
Catchers, Hung Liu
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3 Responses to Lange/Liu: Images of the Depression

  1. So, I see in the art works that color enhances the black and white works with much lively–despite the depressiveness–conception.


  2. Beautiful art work by Hung Liu. Love her style.


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