Walker Evans - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • In 1971, Jerry L. Thompson enrolled at the Yale School of Art, driven by a desire to further his photographic practice and study with the lauded photographer Walker Evans. The pair proceeded to develop a close professional relationship and friendship, with Thompson becoming Evans’s assistant for a number of years. Accompanying Evans on shooting excursions, printing in the darkroom, mounting prints, and handling the extensive archive, Thompson was privy to not only the artist’s process and theory of the medium but also his personality and eccentricities. 


    Following Evans’s passing in 1975, Thompson wrote an account of the last four years of the artist’s life, providing an intimate and empathetic glimpse into one of the most influential American photographers of the 20th century.



    Regarding the work on offer, Thompson recounts,


    “I made this contact print at Evans's direction in either 1972 or 1973. I usually printed in the small darkroom in Evans's Connecticut house, but Evans wanted to exhibit an enlarged 20x16 inch print of this picture in his 1973 exhibition at Robert Schoelkopf Gallery in New York City. Consequently, I took the negative into New Haven to print using the Yale School of Art 8x10 enlarger. I do not recall whether I made this contact print during that printing session, or during another session in Old Lyme. The enlargement was on display in the front room of Schoelkopf's Madison Avenue gallery during the 1973 exhibition . . . Evans routinely cautioned me not to use too much printing paper, so I probably made no more than four or five good ones. As was his habit, Evans gave one of the prints -- this one -- to me. The rest went into his studio inventory.” The prints on offer in lots 24 and 25 are directly from Walker Evans to Jerry Thompson. This photograph was shown in the exhibition Walker Evans at Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2017, which was also shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2018.

    • Provenance

      Gift of the photographer to Jerry L. Thompson, 1973

    • Exhibited

      Walker Evans, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 26 April - 14 August 2017; and traveling to SFMoMA, San Francisco, 30 September 2017 - 4 February 2018

    • Literature

      Chéroux, Walker Evans, p. 296 (this print, exhibition catalogue)
      Hill and Liesbrock, Walker Evans: Depth of Field, p. 6


Photographer's Window

Gelatin silver print, printed 1973 by Jerry L. Thompson.
9 3/4 x 8 in. (24.8 x 20.3 cm)
Signed, dated, and annotated by Jerry L. Thompson in pencil on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$3,000 - 5,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023