This study of a cotton farmer is one of the masterpieces of Evans' landmark collaboration with James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, published in 1941. For this project, Evans and Agee spent several weeks with three tenant farmers and their families, observing their lifestyles and studying their daily activities. Agee's intensely subjective, at times autobiographical writing and Evans' stunningly honest images of the faces, bedrooms, and clothing of individual farmers living on a dry Alabama hillside lead the reader/viewer on a lyric journey to the limits of direct observation. As a series, Evans' photographs seem to have elucidated the whole tragedy of the Great Depression; individually, they are intimate, transcendent, and enigmatic, as in this portrait of the farmer-patriarch Floyd Burroughs.
Inscription: Dealer's stamp in ink, verso BR: " Walker Evans // [double box with pencil inscriptions] II 83"; inscriptions in pencil in unknown hand, verso C: "2 - 2", "8138 A // 8138A"
[George Rinhart, Connecticut]; [Harry H. Lunn, Jr., Washington, DC]; Valerie Lloyd, England; (Christie's South Kensington, May 5, 2000, lot 413); [Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York City]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 31," January 28, 2002–May 19, 2003.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.
Agee, James, and Walker Evans. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Three Tenant Families. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960. no. 2.
Evans, Walker. Walker Evans: Photographs for the Farm Security Administration, 1935–1938. New York: De Capo Press, 1973. no. 249.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Doug Eklund, Mia Fineman, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. Walker Evans. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. no. 91.
Dexter, Emma, and Thomas Weski, ed. Cruel and Tender: Photography and the Real. London: Tate Modern, 2003. p. 132.