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Secondhand Shop Window
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© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Walker Evans
American, New York City, 1930
Gelatin silver print
4 1/2 x 6 7/16 in.
84.XM.956.63

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Through the great equalizer of time, a once-fashionable porcelain mannequin's head is wedged in amongst a smattering of utilitarian household objects in a second-hand shop window display. Probably a milliner's display head sporting a chic, bobbed hairstyle, the ceramic face stands in silent witness to the cluttered fate of the culture's cast-offs during the Great Depression. Walker Evans was frequently drawn to such incongruous, surreal scenes, in which an unlikely element appears out of its original context and thereby assumes a new relationship to the objects around it.