Nov 13, 2009

Shoeshine Man, New York City

Arthur Rothstein portfolio

Shoeshine Man, New York City


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Arthur Rothstein

(American, 1915-1985)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 30.8 x 22.8 cm (12 1/8 x 9 in.); Paper: 35.7 x 27.7 cm (14 1/16 x 10 7/8 in.)

Gift of Alan and Monah L. Gettner 2002.82.5

Edition: 50 + II artist's proofs



Rothstein worked for the Photo Unit of the Resettlement Administration, a federal agency later known as the Farm Security Administration. The agency was created to help fight rural poverty, but its small band of socially concerned photographers crisscrossed the country depicting the suffering of rural and urban populations. Their pictures were used to generate support for government aid programs. Shoeshine stands required little capital investment, making them good businesses for hard times, as long as there were enough affluent people to support the endeavor. This worker sits, ready to seize the opportunity (as mentioned in the sign above him) to serve a customer.

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