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Margaret Bourke-White
Chrysler Corporation
Gelatin silver print

12 7/8 x 9 inches
Gift of the photographer, © 2015 Estate of Margaret Bourke-White/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Excerpt from Museum of Modern Art, New York:

Margaret Bourke-White: About the Artist

Margaret Bourke-White was a pioneering photojournalist whose insightful pictures of 1930s Russia, German industry, and the impact of the Depression and drought in the American midwest established her reputation. She took some of the first photographs inside German concentration camps at Erla and Buchenwald following the end of World War II and captured the last pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, in India. Bourke-White entered Columbia University in 1921 to study herpetology however, the following year a photography course taught by Clarence H. White at the Clarence H. White School of Photography left a lasting impression. For the course Bourke-White received her first camera, a secondhand 3 ¼ x 4 ¼ inch ICA Reflex with a cracked lens, taking her first photographs on glass plates. Though she continued to study zoology at the University of Michigan, from then on she never left the darkroom. In 1927 she graduated from Cornell University with a degree in biology, but she spent most of her time establishing herself as a professional photographer. Bourke-White opened her first studio in her apartment in Cleveland, Ohio. With photographs of architecture and industry, she earned commissions and caught the eye of Henry Luce, founder of Time and Fortune magazines, who, in 1929, invited her to become Fortune’s first staff photographer. She returned to New York and, in 1930, established a photographic studio in the Chrysler Building. When Luce launched Life magazine in 1936, Bourke-White joined the staff, and her picture Fort Peck Dam, Montana appeared on the first cover.
- Mitra Abbaspour

Alternate Name(s): Margaret White (Birth Name) Margaret Bourke-White Caldwell (Married Name).


Additional Information:

Margaret Bourke-White: Selected Biographies on Art in Context

Margaret Bourke-White: Related Links on Art in Context


Margaret Bourke-White, American, (1904-1971)
b. June 14, 1904, The Bronx, NY
d. 1971

Art in Context - Projects:
Art in Context - Art for the Day: June 14

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