Arthur Rothstein (American, 1915-1985)

With a career that spanned five decades, Rothstein is an icon among American photojournalists. He is particularly well known for his work during the Great Depression as one of the photographers hired to document rural communities across the nation for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). One such photograph, “Dust Bowl Cimarron County, Oklahoma,” is one of the most recognizable photographs taken during the Depression that showcased the desolation of the land. He had a substantial impact on public perception of the Dust Bowl and the need to support struggling farmers. Following his five-year stint with the FSA and some time working for the United States Office of War Information, Rothstein became a head photographer for Look magazine, a general interest publication with an emphasis on photojournalism. Rothstein’s portrait of artist John Marin, seen in this show, would have been taken during his early years with Look as a staff photographer. Rothstein’s work can be found in many museum collections around the world, and over 30 of his works are part of the permanent collection at the Bates Museum of Art.