Artist: Gordon Parks
Title: American Gothic
Gelatin silver print
11 5/8 x 8 1/4 in. (29.5 x 21 cm)
Museum purchase, gift of the Rose Family Trust, Mrs. Dorothy Vaughn in memory of Sandra Lawrence, Anonymous in memory of Rosette B. Alford, Calvin and Lloyd, Inc., Mrs. Connie Coppage, Dr. Kimberly Kinsler, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Loumeau, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Wright, and Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. Photography Fund
Gordon Parks began teaching himself photography while working as a railroad porter in the 1930s. His breakthrough came when he won a fellowship to work for the Farm Securities Administration in Washington, D.C. FSA photographers took thousands of pictures to document the hardships that Americans faced during the Great Depression, and Parks largely focused on the difficulties that he and other African-Americans experienced. He met Ella Watson in the FSA building where they both worked.Parks’ photograph of her there contrasts the proudly hung flag with Watson’s humble tools, a mop and a broom.