Rosalie Gwathmey

1908 - 2001 · United States

Artist biography

A revolutionary photographer of the African American experience in the southern United States, American artist Rosalie Gwathmey was a dynamic figure in the documenting of a cultural moment.

Born Rosalie Hook in 1908 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Rosalie studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts but later transitioned to photography. She married architect Charles Gwathmey in the later 1930s and developed her own burgeoning practice as a photographer in the subsequent years.

Her lens often fell upon the African-American communities within and around the Charlotte area, and the frames she captured offered a captivating glimpse at racial relations during the 1940s. Her work fell under scrutiny by the FBI in the 1950s thanks to her husband’s radical political activism. This persecution resulted in her destruction of many of her negatives and her abandonment of the practice. In the later years of her life, she channeled her artistic passions into textile design.

Rosalie Gwathmey

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