This is a very American view--the charm of it is in the ugliness and craziness of the architecture of different periods there together. Look at the quite handsome, charming building down front. While to the left, is a ridiculous house with a crenellated castle on it. The first is honest, the second is not honest; both are American.

Walker Evans declared that he was not interested in "educated architecture," but in vernacular styles such as those seen in this image of an industrial town. Using moral terms to compare the commercial building of the Pennsylvania Railroad in the foreground with the domestic architecture of a house in the background, Evans found the latter to be lacking in authenticity.

Although architecture may have been Evans's primary interest, his inclusion of the railroad in the left-hand corner of the image added a dynamic as well as a documentary aspect to the composition. Since colonial times, New Jersey had been an important link for importing and exporting goods to New York and Pennsylvania, and Phillipsburg, N.J. was one of the earliest stops on the railroad.

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  • Title: Part of Phillipsburg, New Jersey
  • Creator: Walker Evans
  • Date: 1935
  • Location Created: Phillipsburg, New Jersey, United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 18.5 x 23.3 cm (7 1/4 x 9 3/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Gelatin silver print
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Signature: Signed, mount, verso, pencil: center, "Walker Evans".
  • Object Type: Print
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XM.956.496
  • Inscription: Inscription: Mount, recto, black ink, in artist's hand: lower left, "Part Two / #3"; lower center, "Part of Phillipsburg, N.J., 1936". Mount, recto, pencil, in later unknown hand: upper right, "78.5" [in a box]; lower left, "9 1"/"8 x 7 1"/"4"; lower center, "7 1"/"8 x 5 5"/"8"; lower right, "53". Mat, recto, pencil, Crane inventory number: lower left, "L68.35(Evans)". Mat, recto, pencil: lower right, "135". Mount, verso, pencil: lower center, "H2416 - 86 / 86 / NO [in a box] 150 W"; lower right, "53".
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: American
  • Classification: Photographs