Walker Evans and Postcards

A month or so ago I found an article on Collectors Weekly from 2009 about Walker Evans. Walker Evans was a photographer who worked for the Farm Security Administration chronicling the Great Depression.

Evans collected postcards his entire life, and there was an exhibit in 2009 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called “Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard.” 700 postcards were on display.

The curator who is interviewed by Collectors Weekly, Jeff Rosenheim, has written a book called “Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard,” which I have seen online before but have yet to buy. In 1994, Rosenheim acquired the complete archive of Walker Evans for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and not just postcards. There were negatives, letters, signs, and various other things.

As far as Evans’ preference for postcards went-“He liked the earliest postcards. He preferred high quality reproduction cards, but also appreciated the ones that were printed locally in small towns all across the country. The largest section of his collection is everyday street themes from Brooklyn to Bakersfield, literally just looking down the street. But he also collected state capitols, beach themes, hotels, and seascapes. He collected things that he categorized as curiosities. He collected comic cards.”

Evans wasn’t the only artist who collected postcards. Swiss photographer Robert Frank and contemporary artist Stephen Shore also collect postcards.

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3 Responses to Walker Evans and Postcards

  1. Harrise C. Kall says:

    Very interesting!! I always say that my postcards are like my private art gallery!! I must read more about Evans!

  2. Louise Wile says:

    Walker Evans has long been my favorite photographer. I missed the exhibit when it was in the City – but we talked about it at WC4 club – saw the book, wish I had gone in to see the cards. I so love Walker Evans – have several books here at hand that feature his photographs. A few people went to see the exhibit at the Met. I would have bought the book but it didn’t cover the entire exhibit. Still an excellent reference, – someone brought it to the meeting.

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