The J. Paul Getty Museum

Highway Corner, Reedsville, West Virginia

Object Details

Title:

Highway Corner, Reedsville, West Virginia

Artist/Maker:

Walker Evans (American, 1903 - 1975)

Culture:

American

Date:

1935

Medium:

Gelatin silver print

Object Number:

84.XM.129.5

Dimensions:

25.4 × 20.6 cm (10 × 8 1/8 in.)

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Object Description

In this photograph of a highway corner in West Virginia, signs proliferate and dominate, with no visible person to read them. The gas station, the traveler's last stop out of town, anchors the corner, a solid brick building that proudly reveals its nationalistic bent with the bold announcement that "AMERICAN GAS" is sold there. A formidable, solid telephone pole cuts vertically through the frame in the foreground while another peeks out from behind it in the distance. Wires busily intersect the sky, and a large, round sign for the telephone company announces the communication system. Despite all the evidence of devices to keep people connected, the image projects an ironic sense of emptiness and desolation.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1984

Volker Kahmen & Georg Heusch, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
The Art of Photography: 1839 - 1989 (February 11 to December 23, 1989)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 11 to April 30, 1989
  • National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), June 1 to August 1, 1989
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), September 23 to December 23, 1989
Cruel and Tender: The Real in the Twentieth Century Photograph (June 5, 2003 to February 18, 2004)
  • Tate Modern (London), June 5 to September 7, 2003
  • Museum Ludwig (Cologne), December 5, 2003 to February 18, 2004