After a lifetime on a plantation, former slave Bill Traylor moved to Montgomery, Alabama. There, from a doorstep on Monroe Street, he composed starkly modernist images of lively animals, vibrant landscapes and active people. This wonderful, abstracted drawing reveals Traylor’s masterful understanding of space. By placing a striding figure at the upper left of his card, the artist activates and bisects his ground, drawing attention to negative space by boldly leaving the lower section of the work blank. That Shannon dated this piece to Autumn 1939 is important: knowing that this work was completed near the beginning of Traylor’s artistic practice helps to ground Drinking Man in his oeuvre and reveals the level of sophistication Traylor had already achieved by that date. Only about a dozen known Traylor drawings feature a figure with the exaggerated body shape rendered here, adding to the significance of this work.