PUBLISHER
THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK

BOOK FORMAT
Clth, 7.75 x 8.75 in. / 208 pgs / 87 duotone.

PUBLISHING STATUS
PUB DATE
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. EXCLUSIVE
CATALOG: FALL 2012 p. 180   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780870708350 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $40.00 CDN $52.50

AVAILABILITY
Awaiting stock

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

New York
The Museum of Modern Art, 07/19/13-01/14

Seventy-fifth-anniversary facsimile edition of one of the most significant photobooks ever published.

In his essay for American Photographs, Lincoln Kirstein describes Evans as both a 'visual doctor, diagnostician rather than specialist,' and 'the family physician, quiet and dispassionate.' However one defines his role, the photographer made work that was at once plainspoken and eloquent—images that still define something essential and true about America and Americans." - Vince Aletti, The New Yorker

  

THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK

Walker Evans: American Photographs

Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Edition

Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Introduction by Sarah Meister. Text by Lincoln Kirstein.

Featured image, "Birmingham Boarding House" (1936), is reproduced from <I>Walker Evans: American Photographs</I>.More than any other artist, Walker Evans invented the images of essential America that we have long since accepted as fact, and his work has influenced not only modern photography but also literature, film and visual arts in other mediums. The original edition of American Photographs was a carefully prepared letterpress production, published by The Museum of Modern Art in 1938 to accompany an exhibition of photographs by Evans that captured scenes of America in the early 1930s. As noted on the jacket of the first edition, Evans, “photographing in New England or Louisiana, watching a Cuban political funeral or a Mississippi flood, working cautiously so as to disturb nothing in the normal atmosphere of the average place, can be considered a kind of disembodied, burrowing eye, a conspirator against time and its hammers.” This seventy-fifth anniversary edition of American Photographs, made with new reproductions, recreates the original 1938 edition as closely as possible to make the landmark publication available for a new generation. American Photographs has fallen out of print for long periods of time since it was first published, and even subsequent editions--two of which altered the design and typography of the book in small but significant ways--are often available only at libraries and rare bookstores. This version, like the fiftieth-anniversary edition produced by the Museum in 1988, captures the look and feel of the very first edition with the aid of new digital technologies.
Walker Evans (1903–1975) took up photography upon his return to New York in 1927, following a year in Paris when his aspiration to become a writer withered in the shadow of Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Joyce. In 1935, Evans was commissioned by the Farm Security Administration to photograph the effects of the Great Depression in the Southeast. During this time he took many of the photographs that appeared in his collaboration with James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), a book which has become a defining document of that era. Evans joined the staff of Time magazine in 1945 and shortly thereafter became an editor at Fortune, where he stayed for the next two decades. In 1964, he became a professor at the Yale University School of Art, where he taught until his death in 1975.

Featured image, "Birmingham Boarding House" (1936), is reproduced from Walker Evans: American Photographs.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

The New York Times

"Walker Evans helped Americans discover themselves...a book populated by Depression-haunted souls."

Art & Antiques

John Dorfman

For those who have been waiting for years to own this classic photobook -- one of the very best and most influential photobooks ever published, in fact -- this is your chance. To mark the 75th anniversary of the original 1938 publication, the Museum of Modern Art has reissued American Photographs for the first time since 1988 (the 50th anniversary). While there were previous reissues, in 1962 and 1971, the book has often been out of print and hard to find, which has caused secondhand copies to soar. Not only is it a pleasure to see it back in print at an affordable price, but, according to the jacket copy, the editors and printers have used digital technology to "aid in emulating the precise cropping and finely tuned balance of the 1938 reproductions, capturing as never before the look and feel of the first edition." Certainly this book, with its iconic play grey dust jacket, elegant typography and blind-stamped black cloth binding, looks and feels timeless.

Aperture Magazine

David Campany

Published on the occasion of a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, American Photographs fused Evans's avid learning from European books and journals about complex sequencing with his acute attention to bodies, faces, and places eclipsed by modern progress. No celebrities, no soaring skyscrapers -- in fact, nothing very new at all. This was a world persisting against the grain. The inscrutable photographs in suggestive, provocative order were the antithesis of the slick Life photo-stories Evans detested.

The New Yorker

Vince Alletti

[Walker Evans} made work that was once plainspoken and eloquent - images that still define something essential and true about America and Americans.

Walker Evans: American Photographs

STATUS: Out of stock

Temporarily out of stock pending additional inventory.

STAFF REVIEW

First published in 1938 by The Museum of Modern Art, Walker Evans: American Photographs is without a doubt one of the most influential photobooks ever published. You could compare it to Robert Frank's The Americans, although Evans' book came first and was a major influence on the young Robert Frank. Because the book has been out of print for long stretches, this is only the fifth edition; the last edition was in 1988, over 20 years ago. This new edition follows the original format and design but features newly created image separations.
Originally published for Evans' exhibition at MoMA , American Photographs is comprised of 87 images, 38 of which are from his famous Farm Security Administration series. There are photos from across the country, from NYC to Savannah, GA, including cityscapes, gas stations, Victorian architecture, barber shops and of course portraits.
The book's significance was recognized immediately upon publication: First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in her newspaper column that "it shows us contemporary America, and I think all of us who care about our country will be deeply interested in this record." Another critic wrote that the pictures "testify to the symptoms of waste and selfishness that caused the ruin in our civilization."
American Photographs inspired not just photographers but also artists like Ben Shahn, composer Aaron Copeland and writers like William Carlos Williams; in other words, Evans' influence reaches far beyond the photo world. -- Avery Lozada
Artbook | D.A.P. Staff

 



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