19th Century Gingerbread, Oak Bluffs, NJ by Walker Evans
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- Artwork Info
- About the Artist
- About this Photograph
Gelatin silver print
Evans ‘box stamp’, in ink, annotated, ‘1X’ / ‘37’ / ‘#3’, in pencil, au verso
Printed circa 1965
Walker Evans (1903-1975) established his legacy though his work in the 1930s documenting the effects of the Great Depression in the United States for the federal Farm Security Administration.
In 1938, New York’s Museum of Modern Art granted Evans’ work the prestigious honour of being the subject of the museum’s first exhibition devoted to the output of a single photographer.
Evans rarely spent time in the darkroom making prints from his own negatives. He would only loosely supervise the making of most of his prints, sometimes attaching handwritten notes to negatives with instructions on some aspect of the printing procedure.
–Adapted from Wikipedia.
Walker Evans’ numerous photographs of Victorian architecture in the eastern United States straddle an aesthetic and documentary function. Recorded by his camera during the early years of The Great Depression, Evans’ shots were initially accepted as examples of a sort-of anticipatory nostalgia; a longing for a more prosperous, but still tantalizingly recent, past.
Many of these compositions were exhibited in the Architecture room at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1930s. Lincoln Kirstein – a prominent collector who donated thousands of works to the major museums of New York City – is quoted in the December 1933 issue of the Museum of Modern Art Bulletin:
“Walker Evans’ photographs are such perfect documents that their excellence is not assertive. In his series of American Federal and Victorian architecture…he is providing illustrations for a monumental history of American art of building in its most imaginative and impermanent state. These wooden houses disintegrate, almost, between snaps of the lens. Many shown in these photographs no longer stand.”