Walker Evans : photographs

The American photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975) is a major figure in American documentary photography. His photos have become modern icons: one has only to think of his photographs of the Great Depression, and of his contribution to the Farm Security Administration programme. His work has influenced several generations of photographers.

In 1935, the Museum of Modern Art in New York was organising an exhibition of African sculptures. Walker Evans, aged 32, was commissioned to c ompile a photographic portfolio that reproduced a selection of the 477 statuettes and masks in the exhibition. The Quai Branly Museum owns one of the 17 portfolios, each in 4 volumes, which were made. This is one of the few sets from this series that is still complete in the whole world, and the only one in Europe that is ‘fully mounted’. This was also the first time African sculptures were exhibited as works of art, and no longer as objects of ethnographic interest.

The photographs by Walker Evans are signed by him: the same sculpture could be photographed from several angles, and the arrangement of the prints reflects his very personal style.

The catalogue shows a selection of 30 photographs by Walker Evans, reproduced in real size. They are accompanied by a text by Virginia-Lee Webb about Walker Evan’s work in this instance, and by a preface by Yves Le Fur, who commissioned the exhibition.

This work has been published as part of the Photoquai 2007 biennale.


64 pages in 24 cm x 34 cm format

ca. 30 illustrations

price : 20 €

isbn 978-2-915133-65-3 / 978-2-350390-46-8

A co-publication by the musée du quai Branly/Éditions Nicolas Chaudun

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exhibition curator

Yves Le Fur, director of the Heritage and Collections Department at the Quai Branly Museum.

Texts by Virginia-Lee Webb, curator at the Metropolitan Museum, New York.