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HomeContentsVisual indexesWalker Evans

Walker Evans 
Wash Day, New York City 
1930, October (before) 
Gelatin silver print 
29.1 x 20.6 cm 
National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada 
Purchased 1980, No. 21771, © Walker Evans Archive, Metropolitan Museum of Art 
Curatorial description (Accessed: 18 December 2015)
Walker Evans often seems to have been attracted to some of the simpler or more banal visual events of everyday life, what author Gilles Mora has described as "the dynamic quality of urban poetry sometimes tinged with surrealism." Evans must have been amused by the interesting shapes and patterns created by the objects hanging from the crisscrossing laundry lines and by the way that sunlight rendered some of the clothes transparent while others, such as the two darker forms near the centre of the photograph, bear an uncanny resemblance to animal carcasses. Like clouds, the transient formations of the clothes twisting in the wind have a fleeting yet eternal beauty. Evans was one of the greatest exponents of photographing vernacular culture. Posters, storefront windows, and signs are only some of the subjects that make up Evans's oeuvre. The image of laundry hanging on outdoor lines was neither glamorous nor exotic, but Evans understood the peculiar beauty of such everyday scenes. This photograph was published in the October-December 1930 issue of Hound and Horn. 

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