Walker Evans: 'Man in a White Suit', 1933.
Silver gelatin print
Paper size: 11 x 14 in.
Image size: 3 7/8 x 7 1/8 in.
Hand-written notation on verso, "Proof print/This print was made by Brian Graham in 1988 from Evan's original negative for the estate of Walker Evans," with signature of John T. Hill, the executor of the Evans estate.
Produced for reproduction in preparation of the book Havana 1933.
"Man in White Suit" is without doubt one of the most brilliant images from Evans' 1933 trip to Cuba!
Evans' traveled to Cuba just a few years before he was hired by Roy Stryker for the Farm Security Administration. He was on assignment to produce pictures for Carleton Beals' leftist polemic, The Crime of Cuba ("Streetcar, El Cerro District" appears there). Trying to get at the incredibly complex ways that Evans' Cuba pictures mingle art and social fact, the poet Andrei Codrescu has written, "He tried to photograph misery, but shapeliness got in the way". In his essay for the 2001 Getty Museum publication, Cuba, which, like Havana 1933, also features this work, he cogently argues for the centrality of this work to Evan's development. It shows him moving on from a preoccupation with the formal beauty of buildings and things and discovering not just how to photograph people, but to do so in a way that is charged with narrative possibility. Curator Judith Keller observed that Evans' Cuba pictures seem influenced by Diego Rivera's politicized content, Hemingway's "stripped down, minimal style" (Evans spent time with Hemingway during his stay on the island) and the "characteristic emptiness" of Eugene Atget."