Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Stables, Natchez, Mississippi

Artist:
Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
Date:
March 1935
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
25.4 x 20.3 cm (10 x 8 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.553
Rights and Reproduction:
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Not on view
After dropping out of college in 1922, Evans took a job at the New York Public Library, then spent a year in Paris polishing his French and writing short stories and nonfiction essays. He returned to New York in 1927 intent on becoming a writer, but also took up the camera and gradually redirected his aesthetic impulses to bring the strategies of literature-lyricism, irony, incisive description, and narrative structure-into the medium of photography. His principal subject was the vernacular, the indigenous expressions of a people, found in roadside stands, cheap cafés, advertisements, and small-town main streets.
In this photograph made in Natchez, Mississippi, Evans focuses the viewer's attention on the collage of words and pictures left behind by a nineteenth-century sign painter. It was a strategy he learned from studying the photographs of Eugène Atget (seen to the left), about whose work Evans wrote in 1931: "His general note is lyrical understanding of the street, trained observation of it, special feeling for patina, eye for revealing detail, over all of which is thrown a poetry which is not 'the poetry of the street' or 'the poetry of Paris,' but the projection of Atget's person."
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on print, verso TL: "41"; Stamped on verso BC: "Walker Evans", numbered 11 65
[Marlborough Gallery]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, February 2, 1976

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sight Unseen: Photographs from the Gilman Collection".

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard," February 3, 2009–May 24, 2009.

Hambourg, Maria Morris, Doug Eklund, Mia Fineman, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. Walker Evans. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. no. 47.



Related Objects

[Jar of Tin Can Pull Tabs]

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) Date: 1960s–1970s Medium: Metal, glass Accession: 1994.264.114.1 On view in:Not on view

[Jar of Crushed Bottle Caps]

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) Date: 1960s–1970s Medium: Metal, glass Accession: 1994.264.114.2 On view in:Not on view

Broom Vendor, Cuba

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) Date: 1933 Medium: Gelatin silver print Accession: 2005.100.598 On view in:Not on view

[Subway Passenger, New York]

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) Date: 1938–41 Medium: Gelatin silver print Accession: 2005.100.600 On view in:Not on view

[6 Interior Views of Parlor]

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) Date: ca. 1960 Medium: Film negative Accession: 1994.252.204.1–.6 On view in:Not on view