Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)
Allie Mae Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama, 1936
gelatin silver print, printed 1930s–1940s
stamped 'Lunn Gallery' credit with numbers '1' and '36', annotated 'BOX NFS' and variously otherwise numbered, all in pencil (verso)
image/sheet: 8 x 5 in. (20.3 x 12.6 cm.)
Acquired from the estate of the artist by George Rinhart, Connecticut;
Harry Lunn, Washington, D.C.;
Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York;
acquired from the above by the present owner, 1983.
Lincoln Kirstein, Walker Evans: American Photographs, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1938, Part II, pl. 14 (variation).
James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1941, pl. 3.
Walker Evans, First and Last, Harper and Row, New York, 1978, p. 73.
Martha A. Sandweiss, Masterworks of American Photography: The Amon Carter Museum Collection, Fort Worth, 1982, pl. 82.
Exhibition catalogue, Walker Evans, America, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus München, 1990, pl. 79.
John T. Hill and Gilles Mora, The Hungry Eye, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1993, p. 202.
Judith Keller, Walker Evans: The Getty Museum Collection, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1995, pl. 532, p. 165.
Peter Galassi, Walker Evans & Company, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2000, fig. 39, p. 62.
Maria Morris Hambourg et al., Walker Evans, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2000, pl. 89.
Jeff L. Rosenheim and Douglas Eklund, Unclassified: A Walker Evans Anthology, Scalo, New York, 2000, p. 180.
Ithaca, New York, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, An American Portrait: Photographs from the Collection of Diann and Thomas Mann, April 1–June 12, 1994, no. 27.

Lot Essay

In his essay in Walker Evans: American Photographs, the catalogue which accompanied the landmark exhibition of Evans' work in 1938 at The Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Kirstein observed, 'There has been no need for Evans to dramatize his material with photographic tricks, because the material is already, in itself, intensely dramatic...The faces, even those tired, vicious or content, are past reflecting accidental emotions. They are isolated and essentialized. The power of Evans' work lies in the fact that he so details the effect of circumstances on familiar specimens that the single face, the single house, the single street, strikes with the strength of overwhelming numbers, the terrible cumulative force of thousands of faces, houses and streets' (Kirstein, Walker Evans: American Photographs, p. 197).

The portrait offered here, Allie Mae Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama, appeared on a page opposite the portrait Floyd Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama (Lot 119) in Evans' and James Agee's collaborative work, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men of 1941. The images throughout the book, and in particular these two portraits, have become, for many, synonymous with the Great Depression and the rural south of 1930s America. Allie Mae Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama has transcended this period, much like Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (Lot 22), made the same year, and has become an icon of a time and place in American history.

More from An American Journey: The Diann G. and Thomas A. Mann Collection of Photographic Masterworks

View All
View All