Gibbes: 20th Century American Photography Exhibit

The Gibbes Museum of Art will exhibit some of the finest examples of 20th century American photography in the museum’s third-floor galleries from September 8, 2023 – January 14, 2024. The Bitter Years: Dorthea Lange and Walker Evans Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection showcases 65 photographs by renowned American photographers Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano and others who launched their careers as documentarians of the Great Depression. The exhibition is a tribute to the 1962 Bitter Years exhibition organized by the illustrious curator Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art.

Working for the Farm Security Administration, a branch of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, these photographers were hired to capture the social landscape of the country, highlighting the challenges facing Americans between 1935 and 1944. As one photographer articulated, “the idea is to show New York to Texans and Texas to New Yorkers.” The Martin Z. Margulies Photography Collection includes over 100 photographs from the Farm Security Administration, and 65 of them were selected for this exhibition.

Programming related to The Bitter Years:

  • A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, September 8
    The Gibbes will host a curatorial talk with The Bitter Years curators Katherine Hinds and Jeanie Ambrosio to discuss this stunning exhibition from the Margulies Collection. For more information, click here
  • Curator-led Tour, September 8 
    Tour The Bitter Years with co-curators Katherine Hinds and Jeanie Ambrosio of the Martin Z. Margulies Collection. This tour is free with museum admission. For more information, click here.
  • The Poetics of Witness, September 20
    Inspired by the exhibition The Bitter Years: Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection, the Gibbes will host an evening with contemporary documentary photographers, scholars and poets to explore the different ways artists bear witness, creating work that inhabits the space between the personal and the political. For more information, click here.
  • “Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning” Film Screening, October 1
    While Dorothea Lange’s haunting image The Migrant Mother is one of the most recognized photographs in the world, few know the story, struggles and profound body of work of the woman behind the camera.  Award winning cinematographer Dyanna Taylor, Lange’s granddaughter, directs and narrates this intimate documentary as it explores Lange’s life, probes the nature of her muses—two great men and the camera itself—and her uncompromising vision. The screening will be followed by a virtual conversation with Dyanna Taylor, filmmaker and Lange’s granddaughter. For more information, click here.
  • Literary Gibbes: A Book Club Discussion, December 2
    Inspired by The Bitter Years, the museum will host a book discussion on “The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan. For more information, click here.

For images, click here. For more information about The Bitter Years: Dorthea Lange and Walker Evans Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection, visit

-Submitted by Gibbes Museum