Synopses & Reviews
In this first full biography of the enigmatic artist, a leading national authority on Evans brilliantly penetrates the calculated anonymity of his work to reveal the obsessions behind it. A man in love with Americana, Evans was a sensualist, a junk collector, a connoisseur, a wit, a perpetual weekend guest. Charismatic and seductive, he attracted many of the brightest talents of his day. He counted Hart Crane, James Agee, Lincoln Kirstein, Ben Shahn, and Berenice Abbott among his closest friends, and with them he reveled in the intellectual and sexual freedom that distinguished the New York art world during his lifetime. Evans loved nothing better than a good party, and he attended all the best ones in the half-century from the 1920s to the 1970s. A social chameleon, he was as much at ease in bohemian Greenwich Village as in the heady West Side circle that included Robert Penn Warren, Lionel Trilling, and Alfred Kazin. Belinda Rathbone interviewed more than a hundred friends and colleagues of Evans' as well as his two former wives, and combed archives and letters to illuminate his singular vision and the complex personality Evans so carefully withheld from his photographs. The result is a portrait not only of an artist who profoundly influenced the generation of photographers who followed him but also of the artistically fecund times that nurtured him.
'\"A luminous and affectionate tribute to this gifted man.\"'
'\"Incisive, authoritative . . . brings him into focus for the first time.\"'
"A luminous and affectionate tribute to this gifted man." Boston Globe
"Incisive, authoritative . . . brings him into focus for the first time." The Chicago Tribune
Walker Evan's photographs are American classics. His legendary images of southern sharecroppers in LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN and his pictures documenting the Depression era make up a haunting protrayal of the American soul. Until now, though, the man behind those well-known images has remained elusive, by his own design. In this first full biography, a leading authority on Evans penetrates the anonymity of his legendary photographs to reveal A VERY RICH AND INCLUSIVE LIFE OF FOOLISHNESS, CRUELTY, AND SPLENDOR, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE. A portrait of an artist who profoundly influenced the generation of photographers who followed him, WALKER EVANS also traces the artstically fecund times that nurtured him. His career provides a NEW AND PENETRATING ILLUMINATION, ST LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, of everything from the newly established Museum of Modern Art to President Roosevelt's troubled Farm Security Adminsistratiion. WALKER EVANS is a thoroughly engrossing biography of a unique American master.
About the Author
Belinda Rathbone has written widely on modern photographers and organized exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art, the Polaroid Corporation, and the Spanish Ministry of Culture. She lives in Massachusetts and Scotland.