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Corner of Havana building with decorative iron grillwork, Cuba
9x5 5/8 ins (22.9x14.3 cm)
Swann Galleries - New York
Feb 25, 2020 , Classic & Contemporary Photographs, Sale 2531, Lot 141
In 1933 Walker Evans was asked by publisher J.B. Lippincott to make photographs for the book Crime of Cuba written by the radical journalist Carleton Beals. The work was an exposé of the brutal Machado regime and an indictment of the American political practices in the country, and Evans arrived to a country on the brink of upheaval. Beals' final publication would include 30 of the more than 400 frames Evans made during his month-long stay.
This became a key moment in the evolution and refinement of Evans' style. The month he spent in Cuba resulted in a photographer working in both detailed and wide composital formats, examining the many layers of the street and built environment, and making close studies of people he encountered. His photographs also reflect the key influence of the great French photographer Eugène Atget. Evans wrote that Atget's work contained "a lyrical understanding of the street, trained observation to it, special feeling for patina, eye for revealing detail."
A variant of this image is in the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California and included in their catalogue raisonné.
Keller, Walker Evans, The Getty Museum Collection, (J. Paul Getty Museum), cat. no. 283, pg. 85.