Child With Doll

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Child With Doll

United States, 1932
Gelatin silver print
Image: 7 5/8 × 9 3/4 in. (19.37 × 24.77 cm) Primary support: 8 × 9 15/16 in. (20.32 × 25.24 cm) Mat: 16 × 20 in. (40.64 × 50.8 cm)
The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, gift of The Annenberg Foundation, acquired from Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin (M.2008.40.1273)
Not currently on public view


Alma Lavenson shared a dramatic and unexpected connection with Marjorie and Leonard Vernon. Curator and historian Susan Ehrens recounted the story:
Alma Lavenson shared a dramatic and unexpected connection with Marjorie and Leonard Vernon. Curator and historian Susan Ehrens recounted the story:

"In 1985 I was living with Alma Lavenson. I moved into her house and we started going through all of her photographs and all of her negatives. And one day she said, 'well you just sold some photographs to the Getty do you want to do that for me?' I selected what I thought were twenty of her absolute best photographs the most important photographs and most of them were unique. And as it turns out most of the images I'm talking about are now part of the Vernon Collection right here at LACMA."

"I already knew the Vernons well by that time and I brought the box of Lavenson photographs to their hotel in New York. Leonard opened the box, took out one photograph. And so on and so on not saying anything, just looking very quietly. I'm thinking he doesn't like any of them, no questions nothing! At the end of the box he folded his hands and said we would like to take all of these and we would like to look at more of her work. But first, he said, 'tell us something about her.' I said, 'her name is Alma Lavenson and she lives in Piedmont. Marjorie said, 'Wait! I lived in Piedmont.' And I replied, 'she lives on Wildwood Gardens.' Marjorie exclaimed, 'I lived on Wildwood Gardens! But I don't know anyone named Lavenson.' I clarified that Lavenson was her maiden name her married name is Wahrhaftig and her husband was a lawyer. You could hear a pin drop."

"At that point Leonard went over to Marjorie and he stood behind her chair and put his hands on her shoulders. He said, 'let me tell you a story: I knew Marjorie when we were both young and lived in Brooklyn and at one point I even babysat for her. Later, Marjorie married, had three children, and moved out West. Her husband was in a plane crash where everybody died. It was a horrible accident over the Grand Canyon and hundreds of people died. And Matt Wahrhaftig - Alma Lavenson's husband -represented Marjorie and her family and many of the other families that lost relatives.'"

"Leonard and Marjorie asked me more questions about Alma, and eventually they flew up to Oakland and had a whole afternoon with her talking about her photographs."


  • Salvesen, Britt. See the Light: Photography, Perception, Cognition: the Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York: DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2013.