4470Lecture_11

4470Lecture_11 - Professor: Dar ius A. Spieth Ar t Histor y...

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Unformatted text preview: Professor: Dar ius A. Spieth Ar t Histor y Program LSU School of Ar t Walker Evans, 42nd Street , 1929, gelatin-silver print Walker Evans is a central figure in the development of American documentary photography in the 1930s; his precisely detailed, frontal depictions of people and artifacts of American life (crammed store interiors, display windows, billboards, etc.) have influenced each succeeding generation of photographers Walker Evans, Stamped Tin Relic , 1929, gelatin-silver print Abandoning his early ambitions to write and paint, Evans turned to photography and arrived at a dry, economical, unpretentious style which attempted to lay bare before the viewer the most literal facts of life He was critical from the start of what he termed the "artsicraftsiness" of art photographers, such as Alfred Stieglitz, and the "commerm" of Edward Steichen and his likes Composition, not materials or texture define his work Walker Evans, Girl in Fulton Street , New York, 1929, gelatin-silver print Evans was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and was raised in Kenilworth, I llinois; he attended the Loomis School, Phillips Academy, and Williams College After a short time working at the New York Public Library, he traveled to Paris, where he audited courses at the Sorbonne and immersed himself in the writings of Flaubert and Baudelaire; he returned to New York in 1927 and began to photograph seriously the following year Walker Evans, Citizen in Downtown Havana , 1933, gelatin-silver print Evans's first exhibition was held at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932; that same year he provided illustrations for Carleton Bealss book The Crime of Cuba, photographing the revolt against the dictator Gerardo Machado Nevertheless, many of the Cuba photographs have an uncanny similarity with Evans New York street shots; while in Cuba, Evans briefly knew Ernest Hemingway I n 1935 Evans made photographs of African art exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art for distribution to colleges and libraries by the General Education Board Walker Evans, Maine Pump , 1933, gelatin- silver print Evans photographic work marks the transition between straight and documentary photography Evans returned from Paris to America with a heightened perception of the American spirit This perception expressed itself in two kinds of subject matter: portrait photographs and details of architectural form Walker Evans, The Breakfast Room, Belle Grove Plantation, White Chapel, Louisiana , 1935, gelatin- silver print I n 1935, Evans spent two months at first on a fixed-term photographic campaign for the Resettlement Administration (RA) in West Virginia and Pennsylvania; from October on, he continued to do photographic work for the RA and later the Farm Security Administration (FSA), primarily in the Southern states These newly founded government agencies came into existence in the context of President Roosevelts New Deal to overcome the effects of the Great Depression...
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4470Lecture_11 - Professor: Dar ius A. Spieth Ar t Histor y...

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