Walker Evans' friendship with Dorothy Miller spanned some 40 years. She became, along with Frances Lindley and Mrs. Alfred Barr, one of his three "Vassar muses", who encouraged and assisted him throughout his career. Their professional association began in 1935, when The Museum of Modern Art in New York commissioned Evans to compile a photographic record of its immense, ground-breaking exhibition, African Negro Art, on display from March to May of that year. Miller, an assistant curator at the Museum, worked with Evans on the project for several weeks, helping him to select and arrange the objects to be photographed each evening after the galleries closed. She also produced the document, African Negro Art: A Corpus of Photographs by Walker Evans, to accompany the resulting portfolio of 477 prints (see lot 194).
Miller was, clearly, a great admirer and champion of Evans' work and her small personal collection of vintage prints works includes a number of the most significant and recognizable images from Evans' early series of photographs: New York and New England, circa 1930 (lots 188-191); Cuba, 1933 (lot 193); and the "Middletown" project, circa 1935-1938 (lots 195-201), produced for Roy Stryker's Resettlement Administration.
In turn, Evans' warm and lasting regard for Miller is evident from his inscription in her copy of the catalogue (lot 202) for his 1971 Retrospective exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art:
Dorothy my dear: what we have survived! I've had your understanding all along, I think.