9,502 Artists and 57,120 Works Online

Choose your search filter(s) from the categories on the right, and then click Search.

You may select multiple filters.

Browse Artist Index »

Browse Art Terms Index »

White Gray Black

Search Results

Showing 1 of 1
Not on view

Walker Evans. Penny Picture Display, Savannah. 1936

Add to My Collection

Walker Evans (American, 1903–1975)

Penny Picture Display, Savannah

Gelatin silver print
8 5/8 x 6 15/16" (21.9 x 17.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Willard Van Dyke
MoMA Number:
© 2015 Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 157

In the Savannah photographer's window there are fifteen blocks of fifteen pictures each, for a total of 225 portraits, less the ones hidden by the letters. Most of the sitters appear at least twice, but altogether there are more than one hundred different men, women, and children: a community. Evans explored the United States of the 1930s—its people, its architecture, its cultural symbols (including photographs)—with the disinterested eye of an archaeologist studying an ancient civilization. Penny Picture Display might be interpreted as a celebration of democracy or as a condemnation of conformity. Evans takes no side.

The photograph is very much a modern picture—crisp, planar, and resolutely self-contained. But instead of reconfirming a timeless ideal, as artistically ambitious American photographers before Evans generally had aimed to do, it engages a contemporary particular, rooted in history. And it announces Evans's allegiance to the plainspoken vernacular of ordinary photographers, such as the Savannah portraitist who made the pictures in the window.

Share by E-mail
Share by Text Message