Purchase, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Multicultural Audience Development Initiative Gift, 2013
Not on view
DeCarava emerged in the 1950s as one of the most important visual artists in the African American community. His groundbreaking book "The Sweet Flypaper of Life" (1955), with text by Langston Hughes, is a poignant study of street life in Harlem. Like James Agee and Walker Evans’s "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" (1941), it is a landmark collaboration between a writer and a photographer. Hughes’s text—a rambling story about a Harlem grandmother and her children and grandchildren—flows around, and comments on, DeCarava’s photographs. In this scene, made from an apartment window, an elegantly dressed woman strides down the sidewalk and gazes across a cobblestone street; Hughes’s text reads, “Well, where she lives they got an elevator. Pretty streets, clean, it’s on the hill.”
Inscription: [no inscriptions, signatures or annotations recto/verso]
Roy DeCarava to his girlfriend at the time; [Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, 1995-1995]; Private Collection, 1996; [Gitterman Gallery, New York, 2012-2013]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 63," November 19, 2013–March 2, 2014.
Hughes, Langston, and Roy DeCarava. The Sweet Flypaper of Life. 1st ed. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1955. p. 18.
Alinder, James, ed. Roy DeCarava: Photographs. Carmel, Calif.: The Friends of Photography, 1981. no. 5.
Galassi, Peter. Roy DeCarava: A Retrospective. New York: Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996. p. 76.