This haunting photograph of Belle Grove, an antebellum plantation house built by slaves that was located on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is apparently the only interior view Evans made on his two-month trip to the South in spring 1935. The room is bereft of life. Wet rot stains the dentils, and graffiti of previous trespassers decorates the once-pristine walls. In a single image, Evans summarized his understanding of the history of classical architecture in the South; grand of design and crafted by true artisans, the Belle Grove plantation was nevertheless built upon an untenable social structure.
Inscription: Signed in pencil on mount, recto BR: "Walker Evans"; printed and typed label on mount, verso TC: "ROBERT SCHOELKOPF GALLERY // 825 Madison Avenue New York N.Y. 10021 // ARTIST Walker Evans // TITLE Belle Grove Plantation - Breakfast Room // MEDIUM Photograph DATE 1935 // SIZE 6 3/4" X 9 3/16" NO.[blank]"; stamped, C: "WALKER EVANS"; inscribed in pencil, C below stamp: "Belle Grove Plantation 1935 // The Breakfast Room // White Chapel, Louisiana"; stamped twice, BC: "Walker Evans" [Stamp includes two boxes below the name. In the first of the two stamps, the boxes are filled in with pencil: "11" and "76"]; pencil, BL [stray marks or part of a number]
[Marlborough Gallery]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, February 2, 1976
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.
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson. "Documentary and Anti-Graphic Photography: Manuel Alvarez-Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans," September 7, 2004–December 22, 2004.
Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne. "Documentary and Anti-Graphic Photography: Manuel Alvarez-Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans," February 10, 2005–April 10, 2005.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "On Photography: A Tribute to Susan Sontag," June 6, 2006–September 4, 2006.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 44," August 29, 2006–January 7, 2007.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard," February 3, 2009–May 24, 2009.
The Josef Albers Museum. "Walker Evans: Depth of Field," September 27, 2015–January 10, 2016.
Evans, Walker. Walker Evans at Work: 745 Photographs Together with Selected Letters, Memoranda, Interviews, Notes. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1982. p. 110.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Doug Eklund, Mia Fineman, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. Walker Evans. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. no. 46.
Rosenheim, Jeff L. Documentary & Anti-Graphic: Photographs by Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans & Alvarez Bravo. Göttingen: Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, 2004. p. 178.
Hill, John T., and Heinz Liesbrock, ed. Walker Evans: Depth of Field. Bottrop: The Josef Albers Museum, 2015. p. 157.