Flowers and Poster of Herbert Hoover in House Window, Wellfleet, MassachusettsArtist(s)Walker EvansArtist NationalityAmerican (North American)Object Creation Date1929-1931, printed 1971Medium & Supportgelatin silver print on paperDimensions
4 9/16 in x 2 1/2 in (11.59 cm x 6.35 cm)Credit LineGift of Maxine and Lawrence K. SniderLabel copy
Walker Evans frequently features windows and mirrors as formal and conceptual devices in his images of urban and rural life in the United States. Though he was famous for being a documentary photographer, Evans resisted that label. Notably, he saw a distinction between documents and what he called his "deliberately wrought visual poetry disguised as plain prosaic fact."
In Flowers and Poster of Herbert Hoover
, a window pane frames the face of Herbert Hoover, who looks out at the viewer from an aging campaign poster. The rotting window frame, drooping flowers, and a soiled box are evidence of dereliction brought to the viewer's attention through Evan's close framing. The photograph, made in the year of the stock market crash that initiated the Great Depression, ironically suggests the discrepancy between the image of prosperity Hoover promoted as presidential candidate and the economic realities of the time.
In both Moving Truck and Bureau Mirror
and Mirror in Hotel Lobby
Evans draws the viewer's attention to mirrors, which, like photographs, create a three-dimensional illusion on a flat surface. In Moving Truck
, the shallow space of the photograph is opened up by a reflected view of the jumble of furniture in the back of an open truck, while in Hotel Lobby
the mirror seems almost like a portal opening onto a deep interior space.Subject matter
This photograph is an exterior view of a window surrounded by a wooden sill. Through the window, one can see flowers and a political poster featuring a portrait of Herbert Hoover.Physical Description
This work shows an exterior view of a window; inside the window are flowers and a poster portraying a portrait of a man.Primary Object ClassificationPhotographCollection AreaPhotographyRights
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curtains (window hangings)
flowers (plant components)