San Francisco

Wright Morris

Grapestake Gallery

Wright Morris, author of eighteen novels, four books combining photographs and text, and numerous essays, has spent fifty years detailing a rural American way of life that went into decline in the Depression and was all but nonexistent by the end of World War II. Morris found the Depression “spectacularly photogenic,” but in contrast to many of the artists, writers, and photographers of his generation—who shared his subject matter but were of a more political ilk—Morris considered “depressed social reality subordinate to the revelation of experience.” In his most intensive working period, 1938–47, Morris photographed dilapidated barns, grain elevators, and the silent, Hopperesque streets of America’s rural towns with iconic clarity. With the instincts of an August Sander or a Eugène Atget, he created a visual inventory of a landscape on the edge of extinction. These photographs, a visual

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