In the summer of 1936 Walker Evans collaborated with writer James Agee on an unpublished article about cotton farmers in the American South, which eventually became the seminal book "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" (1941). For four weeks in July, Evans made photographs of three sharecropper families and their environment—intimate, respectful portraits of the farmers, as well as their homes, furniture, clothing, and rented land. This study of a clean-swept corner is the twelfth plate in the book; it recalls Agee's observations of the significance of "bareness and space" in these homes: "general odds and ends are set very plainly and squarely discrete from one another. . . [giving] each object a full strength it would not otherwise have."
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on mount, verso, center: "2-12"; bottom left: "FSA 264 // #694"; stamped in ink with numbers inscribed in pencil on mount, verso, bottom right: "Walker Evans // II [in box] 86 [in box] // WALKER EVANS"
Walker Evans; [George Rinhart, Inc., New York (1974)]; [Harry H. Lunn, New York]; [...]; [Fotomann, Inc., New York]
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 1," December 4, 1992–May 4, 1993.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Walker Evans," February 1, 2000–May 14, 2000.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Walker Evans," June 2, 2000–September 12, 2000.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Walker Evans," December 17, 2000–March 4, 2001.
Tate Modern. "Cruel and Tender: The Real in the Twentieth Century Photograph," June 5, 2003–September 7, 2003.
Museum Ludwig. "Cruel and Tender: The Real in the Twentieth Century Photograph," November 29, 2003–February 18, 2004.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 445.