Lot 25
  • 25

Walker Evans

30,000 - 50,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Walker Evans
  • Unique photogram
  • 10 7/8  by 6 7/8  in. (27.5 by 17.5 cm.)
a unique object, the Lunn Gallery stamp and a Warren J. Coville Collection label on the reverse, framed, Coville Collection, Buhl Collection, James Danziger Gallery, and Guggenheim Museum exhibition labels on the reverse, 1929


Edwynn Houk Gallery, Chicago

Collection of Warren and Margot Coville, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, 1987

James Danziger Gallery, New York, 1997


New York, James Danziger Gallery, American Century: Photographs and Visions, 1900-1935, 1997

New York, Guggenheim Museum, Speaking with Hands: Photographs from The Buhl Collection, June - September 2004, and 4 other international venues through 2007 (see Appendix 1)

Palm Beach Photographic Centre, In Good Hands: Selected Works from the Buhl Collection, March 2011


This unique object:

Jennifer Blessing, Speaking with Hands: Photographs from The Buhl Collection (Guggenheim Foundation, 2004), pp. 132 and 214

James Danziger, American Century: Photographs and Visions, 1900-1935 (James Danziger Gallery, 1997), pl. 43

James Danziger, American Photographs: 1900/2000 (Assouline, 1999), pl. 34

Catalogue Note

The 1920s and early 1930s was a period of formal exploration for Walker Evans as he became acquainted with the art of photography and its expressive potential.  While Evans would ultimately adapt an orthodox approach to photographic technique, his early work shows notable examples of technical experimentation.  The closest corollary to the remarkable photogram offered here may be the series of self-portraits Evans executed in 1927 in Juan-les-Pins, France, in which he appears solely as a shadow cast upon a white wall (cf. Walker Evans, Metropolitan Museum of Art, pl. 1).  In each of these self-portraits, he placed himself between the sun and the wall, creating a likeness by blocking the light.  In concept, if not execution, these shadow pictures nearly function as photograms.

Upon his return to America from his Paris sojourn in 1927, Evans continued to apply various experimental approaches to his work.  His diminutive cityscapes, Brooklyn Bridge pictures, and views of railroad tracks exploited the portability of his new small camera and employed unconventional vantage points and innovative framing.  His 1930 views of theatre lights on Broadway, in which an almost frenetic display of bright lettering leaps out from a black background, make creative use of reflection, or may be double exposures (Keller 68 and 69).  In 1930, he also made a double exposure of his friend and fellow photographer Berenice Abbott (Keller 124), in which hands figure prominently.  This photogram takes its place within that formative period of Evans’s career, when he developed his facility with the medium and determined what creative direction he would follow.