Torn Movie Poster

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)

Date: 1931

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: 16.0 x 11.0 cm (6 5/16 x 4 5/16 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.1100.59

Rights and Reproduction: © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Evans was fascinated by the vernacular language of signs-billboards, theater marquees, hand-painted storefronts, graffiti, and rusted tin roadside signs. As in this picture of a tattered movie poster, he often photographed these found artifacts head-on, so that the flat surface of the sign seems to occupy the same plane as the surface of the photographic image. Here, Evans's careful cropping heightens the mystery of the original poster image by isolating the couple's terror from its source and focusing our attention on the large rip that seems to slash through the woman's head.