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  • Provenance

    Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

  • Literature

    Agee and Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, n.p.
    Da Capo Press, Walker Evans: Photographs from the Farm Security Administration 1935-1938, pl. 250 for a variant
    Harper and Row, Walker Evans: First and Last, p. 73
    Harper and Row, Walker Evans at Work, p. 127
    Mora and Hill, Walker Evans: The Hungry Eye, pl. 52 and p. 202
    Scalo, Unclassified: A Walker Evans Anthology, p. 180
    Szarkowski, Walker Evans, p. 14
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walker Evans, pl. 89
    The Museum of Modern Art, Walker Evans: American Photographs, part 1, pl. 14 for a variant
    Weski and Dexter, Cruel and Tender: The Real in the 20th-Century Photograph, p. 133
    Weski and Liesbrock, How You Look At It: Photographs of the 20th Century, p. 182

  • Catalogue Essay

    In his 1938 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art titled American Photographs, Walker Evans presented a variant image of the current lot, which showed a slightly smiling Allie Mae Burroughs. However, in the classic 1941 book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, in which his thirty-one images were presented consecutively, without captions, and preceding the text by James Agee, Evans chose the more haunting variant, shown in the current lot. In it, viewers meet an expression that is decidedly more grave and somber. The book covered the lives of three sharecropper families in the South during the Great Depression, and perhaps for solely focusing on the turmoils of the decade, Evans chose this variant. It is this portrait that Lionel Trilling, in his 1942 review of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, announced as “one of the finest objectsof any art of our time…with all her misery and perhaps with a touch of pity for herself, [she] simply refused to be an object of your ‘social consciousness.’ She refuses to be an object at
    all. Everything in the picture proclaims her to be all subject.” Along with the portrait of her husband, Floyd Burroughs (lot 229), the portrait of Allie Mae has come to sensibly articulate the plight of an entire era.

228

Allie Mae Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama

1936
Gelatin silver print, printed 1950s.
9 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (24.1 x 19.1 cm)
Signed in pencil on the overmat.

Estimate
$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $32,500

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs
[email protected]
+1 212 940 1245

Photographs

New York 30 September & 1 October 2013