Walker's Way: My Years with Walker Evans

Overview

Walker’s Way: My Years with Walker Evans, Isabelle Storey’s memoir of her ten-year marriage to Walker Evans, is the story of an elegant young woman’s infatuation with a great American artist—with the man himself, with what he stood for aesthetically, and with his artistic and social circle—and how her initial passion gradually cooled into disenchantment.

Isabelle Boschenstein was born in Switzerland and spent part of her early childhood in Berlin and Paris. She arrived in New ...

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Overview

Walker’s Way: My Years with Walker Evans, Isabelle Storey’s memoir of her ten-year marriage to Walker Evans, is the story of an elegant young woman’s infatuation with a great American artist—with the man himself, with what he stood for aesthetically, and with his artistic and social circle—and how her initial passion gradually cooled into disenchantment.

Isabelle Boschenstein was born in Switzerland and spent part of her early childhood in Berlin and Paris. She arrived in New York with her first husband, Alec von Steiger, in 1958. But their marriage lacked passion, and when she met Walker Evans, she fell for him headlong. Isabelle and Walker were married in 1960. Evans, already a prominent figure in the world of photography, introduced Isabelle to Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Helen Levitt, Robert Penn Warren, Alfred Kazin, William H. Whyte, and a host of other luminaries. But over the course of the next decade, her relationship with Walker became strained. In this candid and poignant narrative, which draws extensively on the couple’s voluminous correspondence, Isabelle describes how their marriage grew more formal, cooler, and eventually failed altogether as Isabelle felt compelled to move on.

Walker’s Way is a rare gem of personal history: an intimate portrait that remains dignified even as it waxes wistful. Appreciative in its spirit, never marred by scandalous or gratuitous revelation, Walker’s Way is a moving evocation of a vibrant young woman’s growth into mature adulthood. Sumptuously illustrated with over 50 photographs, including more than a dozen previously unpublished works by Evans himself, Walker’s Way provides a previously unseen glimpse into the domestic life of a major American photographer who ranks among the twentieth century’s most celebrated, and enigmatic, artists.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

They met in 1959. Storey, Swiss and quite continental, newly wed, on her first trip to America, was 26; Evans, the famous photographer, was 30 years older. "He seemed to be endowed with everything I liked: charm, taste, style, an unerring eye, humor, and intelligence," Storey writes. By the time her husband returned from out of town, she "had fallen in love." Although speckled with famous names and hints of mutual sexual dysfunction, this is a dry, quotidian recounting of Storey and Evans's doomed romance. There is much cooking and eating but little tasting, reading but little reflection, historical markers but little involvement. The memoir contains more than 50 photographs, but nothing from Evans's renowned Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, reprinted with fanfare in 1960. A future biographer may find the sterile detail ("I went to the dry cleaner and shopped for supper") useful, the brief exchange of letters touching and small notes about photographers' rivalries informing, but both Evans and Storey would have been better served through more aesthetically placed photographs and far fewer words. 50 b&w photos. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576873625
  • Publisher: powerHouse Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Isabelle Storey was born in 1933 in Bern, Switzerland, and studied textile design at the Zurich School of Design and Applied Art, receiving her diploma in 1955. In 1958, she went to New York with her first husband, Alec von Steiger. Two years later she married Walker Evans; their marriage ended in divorce. In 1973, she married her current husband, James M. Storey, a lawyer. They divide their time between Boston and coastal Maine. As curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, she mounted the exhibition The Presence of Walker Evans, which gathered photographs by Diane Arbus, William Christenberry, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Helen Levitt, Alston Purvis, John Szarkowski, and Jerry Thompson. She was the photographic editor of A Book for Boston (David R. Godine, 1980). From 1980 to 1990 she served on the Board of The MacDowell Colony.
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