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Penny Picture Display, Savannah

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)

Gelatin silver print
24.7 x 19.3 cm (9 3/4 x 7 5/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Description

    This picture is a composite portrait of a slice of society. It represents the window display of an anonymous portrait photographer in the South during the Depression. He was evidently not much of an artist but was good at pinching pennies, eager for business, and proud of his trade. On each of his large negatives he managed to make fifteen individual portraits. He thought most exposures good enough to use in this advertising display but covered his occasional failures with more successful images cut from other contact sheets.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in blue ink on print, verso, top left: "Photograph By // Walker Evans"; top left: "[line UL to UR] Return to // Arthur Siegel // 2025 Mohawk // Chicago Ill"; top right: "Photographers Window // Birmingham, Ala."; inscribed in pencil on print, verso, center: "Ra 8097-A"; inscribed in pencil on print, verso, center: "33 wide [encircled]"; inscribed in pencil on print, verso, bottom center [sideways]: "Photographer's window // of penny portraits, // Birmingham, // Ala."; inscribed in pencil on print, verso, bottom center: "#5897 [underlined] // AMERICAN PHOTO MAG."; bottom right: "WEV.207.X"; stamped in ink on print, verso, bottom right [sideways]: "Kindly use the following credit line: // RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION PHOTOGRAPH BY EVANS"

  • Provenance

    John C. Waddell, New York

  • See also