The Emerson Gallery, Hamilton College and Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions provided source material to Resource Library for the following article. If you have questions or comments regarding the exhibition, please contact the Emerson Gallery, Hamilton College directly through either this phone number or web address:


Ernest Hemingway and Walker Evans: Three Weeks in Cuba, 1933

February 15 - April 15, 2007


This exhibition examines the friendship between Walker Evans and Ernest Hemingway while both were living in Havana in 1933. Through a combination of never-before-exhibited photographs by Evans, and newly found Hemingway letters, photographs and artifacts, the exhibition reveals how the events the men witnessed, the political upheaval they observed and their late night discussions influenced their creative styles.

I have some pictures tonight, and will have more tomorrow... These cryptic words, in a handwritten note to Hemingway from Evans, are part of a mystery that is only now coming to light. Their friendship began in Havana in May 1933. Hemingway had arrived in Cuba to fish and work on manuscripts. Evans came to take photographs for The Crime of Cuba, which was severely critical of the Cuban dictator Machado. The social and political upheaval they observed, and their late night discussions, affected the work of both men for the rest of their lives.

During this period Hemingway wrote To Have and Have Not, and many of Evans' photographs are directly related to scenes in this book. Through a combination of never-before-exhibited photographs by Evans, newly found Hemingway letters, photographs and artifacts, the exhibition will expand our understanding of the relationship between Hemingway and Evans and the influence these remarkable men had on each other's creative styles.

Ernest Hemingway and Walker Evans: Three Weeks in Cuba, 1933 is organized by the Key West Museum of Art and History at the Custom House, Florida, and circulated by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions.


Introductory text panel from the exhibition

"I have some pictures tonight, and will have more tomorrow"
These cryptic words, in a handwritten note to Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) from Walker Evans (1903-1975), set in motion events that still have meaning today. The three weeks these men spent together in Havana in 1933 had a lasting impact on each of them. The events they witnessed, the political upheaval they observed, and their many late night discussions, affected the style and powers of observation of each man for the rest of his life.
Evans became internationally acclaimed for a documentary style of photography as spare and compelling as Hemingway's prose. Passages in Hemingway's To Have and Have Not seem to spring directly from the photographs Evans gave to Hemingway that night in Havana.
Ernest Hemingway and Walker Evans: Three Weeks in Cuba, 1933 is organized by the Key West Museum of Art & History at the Custom House, Florida and is toured by Curatorial Assistance, Inc., Pasadena, California.


Other text panels

Young Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway was born July 21, 1899, the son of a conservative Oak Park, Illinois doctor. Early in life, he showed an interest in sports and writing. In one particularly prophetic, if not well-spelled, essay at age nine, Hemingway wrote that his:
"favourite authors are Kipling, O. Henry and Steuart Edward White. My favourite flower is Lady slipper and Tiger Lily. My favourite sports are Trout fishing, Hiking, shooting, football and boxing. My favourite studys are English, Zoology and Chemistry. I intend to travel and write."
During summer trips to the family cottage on Walloon Lake in northern Michigan, he learned to fish and shoot, he fell in love, and he confronted the challenges of growing into manhood. Some of these experiences would emerge in his early short stories, particularly Indian Camp (1925).
A bad eye kept him out of regular military service in World War I, so at age 18, he took a job reporting for the Kansas City Star. As a young reporter, Hemingway learned what he later claimed were the best rules for writing prose: "Use short sentences, use short first paragraphs, use vigorous English. Be positive. Never use old slang, and eliminate every superfluous word."
As the war dragged on, Hemingway volunteered for the American Red Cross Ambulance Corps and was sent to Italy. He saw, first hand, the horror and carnage of war, and in July, 1918 he was wounded by almost 200 pieces of shrapnel. While recovering in a hospital, he fell in love with his nurse, Agnes Von Kurowsky. She later dismissed their affair and Hemingway made her the model for his character Catherine Barkley, who dies at the end of his celebrated novel, A Farewell to Arms.
When Hemingway recovered and returned from the war, his hometown hailed him a hero. He then went to work, briefly, as a freelancer for the Toronto Star and in Chicago he fell in love with Hadley Richardson, whom he married in 1921. As the European correspondent for the Star, he moved with Hadley to Paris for the next several years, interrupted by a return to Toronto for the birth of their son, John. It was also in Paris that Hemingway met his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, a fashion editor for Vogue magazine.
Walker Evans, The Early Years
Walker Evans was born in St. Louis in 1903, but his father, a puritanical and ambitious advertising executive, soon moved his family to north suburban Chicago, not many miles from the Hemingway family home.
In 1915, Evans's father took a job with the Willys Motorcar Company, and the family moved to Toledo, Ohio, a small town then dominated by a very poor immigrant population.
His parents divorced four years later, and 16-year-old Evans was sent to Phillips Academy, a boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts, where he seemed to be in continuous conflict with the headmaster.
After being refused admission to Yale University, Evans enrolled in Williams College in Massachusetts, where he became interested in literature, especially the work of contemporary writers T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway. Ironically, many years later in 1965, after achieving fame, Evans became a professor at Yale.
After his freshman year at Williams, Evans dropped out of school and moved to New York City intending to become a writer. In 1926, he traveled to Paris and attended classes at the Sorbonne. Although he was aware that Hemingway, one of his literary idols, was also living in Paris at the time, and although both men probably frequented some of the same places, they never formally met.
It wasn't until Evans returned to New York in 1927 that he began to experiment with photography.
Paris in the 1920s
After World War I, the surge in America's economy meant that Americans could stretch their dollars much further in France than they could in their own country. For young struggling writers and artists, who had long considered Paris the cultural and artistic capital of the western world, this proved an irresistible lure.
The 1920s saw an extraordinary number of creative Americans migrate to the "City of Light." These included musicians and composers such as George Gershwin and Aaron Copeland, singers and dancers like Josephine Baker, and photographers such as Man Ray. Additionally, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos and other writers made Paris their home during this era.
The American writers had one thing in common: they all spent time in Sylvia Beach's bookshop and lending library-Shakespeare and Company. Both Ernest Hemingway and Walker Evans borrowed books, and although they may have seen each other there, they were never introduced.
First Trip to Key West
Ernest Hemingway's first trip to Key West in 1928 was intended only as a way stop, but once he felt the sun, smelled the salty air and met the locals, he knew the island would be his home. Key West was a poor town but one with spirit, eager to take in the ambitious writer and his second wife, Pauline. It didn't take long for him to find friends among the fishermen, locals, and hard drinkers who supplied ample material for his writings and perhaps more importantly, taught him to fish.
Among the new acquaintances were part-time smuggler, part-time bar-owner Joe Russell, owner of Sloppy Joe's Bar, fishermen Eddy "Bra" Saunders and his half-brother Burge, and later Toby Bruce, who became his right-hand man and life-long companion.
Key West provided a convenient base, where, for the decade of the 1930s, the young couple could raise their sons, entertain visitors from the north, and still get away to New York, Africa, Europe or Cuba whenever they wanted. The area also offered other conveniences. Henry Flagler's Overseas Railway ran on schedule until the disastrous 1935 hurricane; a large house on Whitehead Street provided ample shelter; there were fishing boats available for chartering until Hemingway bought his own boat, Pilar, in 1934; quiet mornings were perfect for writing; and speakeasies operated in the evenings with little interference.
Crime in the Streets
Following years of economic and political chaos, the Cuban people elected Geraldo Machado y Morales president in 1925. He began his administration with an anti-corruption campaign and increasingly tightened control over the governmental bureaucracy. He justified the growing tyrannical nature of his regime by saying that the recovery of the national economy demanded harsh measures if stability was to be achieved. The ever more powerful secret police harassed, jailed, and deported labor leaders and students who protested the government's brutal measures. At the same time Cuba became a paradise for foreigners and their money.
In a bloody response to the repression, a group of Cuban intellectuals formed a terrorist organization called "ABC" that bombed police stations and shot members of the hated militia. The spiral of violence continued until 1933, when Walker Evans on assignment sailed into this cauldron to record the atrocities of the Machado regime. However, before Evans's book could be published, the Cuban military and the American embassy withdrew their support for the Machado government. On August 12, 1933, the dictator fled into exile.
Unfortunately, the end of Machado did not mean the end of violence or corruption in Cuba. The cycle continued through a series of elections and military coups, until 1959, when Fidel Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista and became prime minister, and a different form of corruption took root.
"You know how it is there early in the morning in Havana with the bums still asleep against the walls of the buildings; before even the ice wagons come by with ice for the bars?''
When Ernest Hemingway penned these famous opening lines to his American novel To Have and Have Not he could have been describing Walker Evans's photographs of dozing bums shot in Havana in 1933.
If not, Hemingway certainly was thinking of the same scenes, which he and Evans witnessed during their brief, but mutually influential time in Cuba that spring.
Some of the photos Hemingway carried back to Key West for Evans show mutilated corpses that Evans had copied from newspaper files. One especially gruesome image is of Manuel Cepero, pictured here in ABC note with postmortem of dead man, killed by revolutionaries for being a stool pigeon, or "a long tongue." In his book, Hemingway's literary tough guy, Harry Morgan, is confronted by a Cuban smuggler who asks: "You're not a lengua larga are you?" referring to someone who talks too much.
"Listen," says Harry. "Don't be so tough so early in the morning. I'm sure you've cut plenty of peoples throats. I haven't even had my coffee yet."
Many of Evans's photographs made during those weeks record the atmosphere of political unrest in Cuba that serves as the background in Hemingway's book.
Hemingway the Fisherman
From the time he was a three-year-old boy vacationing at Walloon Lake in Michigan, Ernest Hemingway was an avid fisherman.
Wherever he traveled he fished: in the States, Canada, France, Switzerland, and Spain. But when he moved to Key West in the early 1930s, Hemingway found that fishing could be as physically challenging a sport as bull fighting or football, especially when the fisherman was pitted against a large marlin, tarpon, or sailfish.
Hemingway loved going after the big ones. Dozens of photos record his piscatorial prizes caught in Gulf Stream waters, waters he described in a 1936 Esquire magazine article as "an unexploited country no one knows what fish live in it, or how great [a] size they reach or what age. In hunting you know what you are after and [the] top you can get is an elephant. But who can say what you will hook sometime when drifting in a hundred and fifty fathoms in the Gulf Stream?"
The struggle between man and big fish is epitomized in Hemingway's Pulitzer prize winning allegory, The Old Man and the Sea, in which an aging fisherman becomes one with a great marlin as he first struggles for hours to kill it and then must fight to protect his catch from predatory sharks. The book, published in 1952, seemed to be a culmination of Hemingway's lifelong affair with both fishing and writing.
Pauline at Home
During the 1930s, Ernest and Pauline Hemingway lived comfortably in Key West in a large nine-room house purchased with the help of Pauline's uncle, Gus Pfeiffer. For most of the other residents, however, Key West was less than paradise.
Key West was once the richest city in the United States. However, by the time the Hemingways made it their home, the average income had plummeted to seven dollars a month. Many of the locals survived by eating grits and grunts-small but tasty fish, abundant in the surrounding waters.
Julius Stone Jr., the local chief of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), brought in musicians and artists on the federal payroll to spruce up the town's image as a tourist destination. He immediately incurred the wrath of Hemingway, who accused him of reducing the islanders to the status of beggars.
In To Have and Have Not, Hemingway frequently protests against the Roosevelt Administration's "alphabet agencies" and, in The Green Hills of Africa, he laments how government welfare programs caused "Everybody in our town [to] quit work to go on relief."
While he frequently ventured to Cuba and elsewhere with friends, and sometimes with other women, Pauline persevered at home with her sons Patrick and Gregory and, during school holidays, John, Hemingway's son from his first marriage to Hadley Richardson. In 1939, Hemingway moved to Cuba, divorced Pauline, and married Martha Gellhorn, a writer he had met one evening at Sloppy Joe's in Key West.
Pauline, however, continued to live in the Whitehead Street house and was an active member of the Key West Art & Historical Society until her death in 1951.
Ernest Hemingway in Later Years
Ernest Hemingway moved to Cuba permanently at the end of December 1939 with Martha Gellhorn, a writer whom he first met in Key West three years earlier. The next year after he and Pauline were divorced, he married Martha and bought an estate called Finca Vigia on a hill outside Havana.
While based in Cuba, Hemingway fished and worked on several writing projects including For Whom the Bell Tolls, Across the River and into the Trees, and The Old Man and the Sea, a novel that won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1953.
Gellhorn ended their marriage in 1945 when she divorced him. The next year he married his fourth wife, Mary Welsh. Hemingway lived in Cuba for more than 20 years. During this time, he survived two plane crashes and was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. By 1955, his hard drinking and hard living had taken a toll on his health.
In 1959, he accepted a Life magazine assignment to cover the bull fights in Spain, and upon his return, he and Mary bought a house and moved to Ketchum, Idaho. The next year Hemingway was hospitalized for depression, liver disease, hypertension, and diabetes. On July 2, 1961, 19 days before his 62nd birthday, Ernest Hemingway committed suicide with his favorite shotgun.
Walker Evans in Later Years
Today, Walker Evans, along with Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz, are considered the most influential photographers of the 20th century. Following his time in Cuba, Evans returned to New York and continued to record the city and the people who lived in it.
In July and August of 1936, Walker Evans and writer James Agee, both working for Fortune magazine, arranged to stay with a sharecropper's family in Hale County, Alabama. The book that resulted from their research, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), is widely recognized as one of the most important studies of American social history.
Later, Evans was honored with an exhibit of his work Walker Evans-American Photographs, the first exhibition devoted to the work of a single photographer at the Museum of Modern Art. Throughout the 1940s and 50s his photographs were published in Time and Fortune magazines and he became staff photographer of Fortune in 1945. In 1965 Evans became Professor of Graphic Arts at Yale University. He died at the age of 72 on April 10, 1975.
After Havana in 1933, Ernest Hemingway and Walker Evans never corresponded nor met face to face again. Over the years, each man would comment on the other, their friendship, and their time together-those weeks in Havana what would have a lasting affect on each of them, and on the great art they were destined to create.
"None of the pictures with people is posed."
Evans wrote these words for the dust jacket of The Crime of Cuba. He may have used a right-angle viewfinder to capture the real subject while giving the appearance of taking a shot of something else.
He did use this technique two years later while taking pictures in New Orleans. In 1938, he hid his camera under his overcoat to photograph unsuspecting passengers on the New York City subway.
One of his most famous photographs from Cuba is an elegant black man in a white suit, standing in front of a shoeshine stand. If you look through the viewfinder you will see how Evans was able to capture candid pictures of his subjects.
Ninety Miles South Lies Havana
During the boom days of the 1920s, the nightclubs of Havana pulsed with Latin music, gambling was a national pastime, and alcohol, illegal in the United States, was plentiful and cheap. However, political corruption was rampant in Havana, and the consequences of the Great Depression led to a sharp decline of North American tourist dollars.
By 1933, when Ernest Hemingway and Walker Evans were in Cuba, hotels and casinos were making a comeback. The city's legendary bars, including Sloppy Joe's and the Floridita were once again filled with thirsty revelers. It was here that these young men, whose paths had often crossed, finally met. They spent their evenings, as Hemingway remembered, "...working against Machado."
A few years later, Hemingway's friend Joe Russell, opened a Sloppy Joe's in Key West in tribute to Hemingway's favorite haunt in Cuba that had been elevated to legendary proportions in To Have and Have Not.
Sloppy Joe's Hemingway Storage
Shortly after Ernest Hemingway's death in 1961, his widow, Mary came to Key West to inspect the contents of a storage room behind Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval Street. For more than 20 years, this room held Hemingway's vast collection of personal effects: original manuscripts, galley proofs, letters, telegrams, photographs, as well as bearskin rugs and assorted animal heads.
For over a month, Mrs. Hemingway, assisted by long time friends, Betty and Toby Bruce, sorted through all these items. Eventually, Mary decided to donate parts of the collection to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, the Key West Art & Historical Society, and the Bruce Family. Among the Bruce Family's collection were 46 black and white photographs of Cuba, 44 of which are shown in this exhibition.
Recently, Benjamin Bruce was able to identify the photographer as Walker Evans. Further research turned up additional items that began to establish the connection between Ernest Hemingway, Walker Evans, and the weeks they spent together in Cuba in 1933.
Walker Evans's First Assignment
Walker Evans arrived in Cuba in May of 1933 on assignment to illustrate a political book called The Crime of Cuba. Since his return from Paris in 1927, he worked in New York at a variety of jobs to allow him to pursue his new career in photography. His photographs were included in several gallery exhibitions and were published in various magazines. However, the assignment in Cuba would create his first great body of work.
Evans's contract provided only enough money for a two-week stay in Havana. After that he was penniless. His new friend, Ernest Hemingway, lent him enough money to stay another week. It might seem surprising that Evans never photographed the popular writer. He would later claim that he disliked taking photographs of famous people: "Photographically speaking the face of a celebrity is a cliché." However, Evans did commemorate their meeting by taking photographs of two Havana movie theaters that were showing the film, Adios, a las Armas (A Farewell to Arms), directed by Frank Borzage, 1932 (Paramount Pictures).


Extended captions from the exhibition

Walker Evans
Citizen of Havana, 1933
Gelatin silver print
For the 29-year-old Walker Evans, Cuba was the adventure of a lifetime-Havana in the 1930's, in the company of Ernest Hemingway, and on assignment in an exciting, though admittedly dangerous, climate. As Evans said, "I did land in Havana in the midst of a revolution."
Walker Evans brought two cameras to Cuba. A medium-format 2 x 4 inch camera for hand-held shots and a 6 x 8 inch view camera with a tripod. He used the smaller camera for quick, candid street scenes. For the more static shots that required longer exposure times, he used the larger camera set on the tripod. "None of the pictures with people is posed," he writes. "I simply went around everywhere I could get."
Photographer unknown
Cojimar, May 1933
Modern print
In this photograph Hemingway is grasping the fin of a huge marlin in the spring of 1933 on the docks in Cabanas Harbor, Cuba. Compare this photograph to one that Walker Evans shot of the same harbor made in May 1933, Harbor view with masted boat. In each picture the building in the upper left is the same.
Now look carefully at the young, dark haired man, second from the right in this photograph. Could that be Walker Evans? Could Evans have been present at the same time?
Case items:
The Fifth Column play galley proof
Newspapers addressed to Hemingway
Duck hunting decoy
Death in the Afternoon printer's book mock up
Picture of gazelle trophy
Picture of water buffalo
Spanish leather box
Letter to Hemingway regarding taxidermy
Leather drinking flask
Walker Evans's photographs:
Stitches, 1933, gelatin silver print
Black man, 1933, gelatin silver print
Headshot Latino, 1933, gelatin silver print
Full body, 1933, gelatin silver print
Palm trees, 1933, gelatin silver print
Matador, 1933, gelatin silver print
Lottery, 1933, gelatin silver print
Among Ernest Hemingway's possessions were duck decoys, a letter from a taxidermist asking for instructions to mount two bear hides and skulls, souvenirs from trips to Spain, an original galley of The Fifth Column, and 46 photographs of Cuba-of which 44 are shown in this exhibition.
Scale model of the Anita
Designed and Constructed by
Benjamin C. Bruce.
Joe Russell's 32-foot motor launch, the Anita was a sturdy fishing vessel from which to tangle with feisty marlin, tarpon, and sailfish. Anita also made travel between Key West and Cuba very convenient. It was large enough for accommodating several fishermen on extended charters or for smuggling a large supply of "Hoover Gold" during impromptu rum running excursions.
In the spring of 1933, Hemingway charted the Anita from Russell, who later became the owner of Sloppy Joe's bar in Key West, for an extended jaunt to Havana. It was during that trip that Hemingway became acquainted with Walker Evans, a chance encounter that resulted in three weeks of carousing and camaraderie.
During that time Evans entrusted Hemingway with 46 prints he had made in Cuba. The writer took them back to the States aboard the Anita.
Facsimile of Hemingway's fishing log,
May 31, 1933
Ernest Hemingway Collection,
The John F. Kennedy Library
At the bottom he writes...
Dinner with Walker Evans
#66, 67, & 69
Facsimile of photograph of Walker Evans and Dorthy Butcher
Handwritten note from Walker Evans to
Ernest Hemingway
Facsimile of front and back of envelope with
Hemingway notation
This photograph shows Evans posing with Dorothy Butcher, a young English woman he met in one of the cable offices. In his diary Evans writes about their conversations "...over the mahogany barrier in your [her] office." He may have used her cable form to write this note to Ernest Hemingway.
The note, which begins "I have some pictures tonight..." was left at Hemingway's hotel, the Ambos Mundos. Hemingway must have called Evans when he read the note because his handwriting on the back of the envelope "loaned $25.00," refers to Evans's request for a $10 or $15 loan.
Years later, we can see wormholes through both the envelope and note, confirming that these two items were kept together in Hemingway's storage room.
Facsimile of 1952 letter from Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway Collection,
Harvard University Library
In 1952, Hemingway writes to a mutual friend from his home in Cuba that he doesn't remember if Evans owes him any money but I remember clearest what a nice kid he was and takeing [sic] his pictures, or copies of them, across in the old Anita to Key West. That's nearly twenty years ago.
Carleton Beals
The Crime of Cuba, 1933
First Edition
The Crime of Cuba folded display cards, 1933
In May 1933, Walker Evans traveled to Cuba on assignment to take photographs for a political book written by Carleton Beals exposing the brutality of the corrupt regime of Geraldo Machado.
Evans took hundreds of photographs and submitted sixty-four pictures. Thirty-one were used in the final publication. Ironically, Machado fled into exile on August 12 and The Crime of Cuba was published on August 17, 1933.
Facsimiles of Hemingway's bills and receipts
Facsimiles of "La Florida" drink recipes
book cover
"Sloppy Joe's Havana" drink book with
facsimile of cover
Original photographs of Betty and Toby Bruce
with friends at Sloppy Joe's in Havana
Maracas from Sloppy Joe's, Havana
Havana was the Caribbean capital of tropical fun. Elegant men and beautiful women mingled with celebrities like Ernest Hemingway and Errol Flynn in Cuban nightclubs, cafes, and bars. They came to enjoy exotic rum drinks, balmy nights, and Latin rhythms.
Jose Abeal opened his bar in 1918 and friends from the States nicknamed it "Sloppy Joe's." The name stuck and made Jose Abeal famous. These photographs, taken during the 1930s, show Betty and Toby Bruce with their friends at Sloppy Joe's.

Audio tour script

Photographer had a paying job, he made demands regarding his art and those demands were met. He went to Havana ­ the host destination of the day. He was introduced to Hemingway but more importantly, Hemingway wanted his company. He gave him money to extend his trip. Walker gave him images to take back to the U.S.
In May of 1933, a young American photographer went to Cuba. Walker Evans was, at that time, a working though not yet famous photographer. He was there on assignment. His task was to capture images to be used in Carlton Beals controversial book, The Crime of Cuba, a political commentary about the events that took place under the rule of Cuba's brutal dictator, Machado.
Music up.
With two cameras, one a small handheld and the other a larger format professional grade, he ventured into the streets, suburbs, and countryside. As you can see in his photos, he had a keen interest in people, particularly the working and lower classes.
Perhaps due to his desire to be a writer, he met or made contact with a variety of writers and journalists: Americans from the New York Times and United Press as well as Cuban nationals. It was through one of these men that Evans met his literary hero, Ernest Hemingway.
Music fade out.
While away from his mob, Hemingway was looking for someone with whom he could have intelligent literary conversations, as well as would join him in the evenings for intellectual conversations.
Walker Evans fit the bill to a "T." Young, passionate, and intelligent he had been an admirer of Hemingway for years. At one point, Evans was to return to the U.S. But Hemingway did not want to lose his companion. He persuaded Evans to change his reservations and remain in Cuba an additional week. He then loaned the young photographer $25 dollars, roughly a week's pay, to cover his expenses.
For the 29-year-old Walker Evans, this was the adventure of a lifetime. Havana in the 30's; in the company of Ernest Hemingway; on assignment in an exciting, though admittedly dangerous political climate. It appears this encounter, though not much discussed in later years, greatly influenced the young artist. If prior to this trip Evans still thought about becoming a writer, afterwards, he began referring to himself as a photographer.
Furthermore, this brief meeting of two men of destiny is reflected in Hemingway's work as well.
Music up.
In 1962 longtime friends, Toby and Betty Bruce discovered 46 Walker Evans prints among Ernest Hemingway's possessions stored at Sloppy Joe's since 1939. It is possible that Evans printed these photos in Cuba and asked Ernest Hemingway to take them back to the U.S.
Once credible theory is that due to the political nature of some of the images, Evans wanted to ensure that copied of his work made it to the U.S. in case his negatives were seized by Machado's officials.
Writing of his friend, Walker Evans said "I had a wonderful time with Hemingway. Drinking every night. He was at loose ends and he needed a drinking companion, and I filled that role for two weeks."
Later he described his experiences there by saying that Cuba "is a grand place and I'd be sorry not to go there again."
Evan's went back to Cuba only once for a brief visit but his friend, Ernest Hemingway returned and stayed for more than twenty years.
A picture speaks a thousand words. Now that you've heard part of the story surrounding them, please explore these photos that are cloaked in mystery. It is our privilege to present them to you, as together, we attempt to sort it all out.
Music fade out.
The excitement and adventure of Cuba eventually leads him to leave Key West and make a new home for himself.
Music up.
Hemingway's Havana was an adventure. It was wild and dangerous - the exciting new playground of the rich and famous.
In contrast, Key West was fairly well along in a downward spiral. Bankruptcy was on the horizon and soon the "Saint-Tropez of the Poor" would simply be poor.
Ninety miles to the south, however, lay the sweltering pearl of the Gulf Stream: Havana. Much like Key West years before, here was a place that appealed to the writer's sense of independence and adventure. Bums and beggars were plentiful; corruption was the business of the day.
During the Havana trip when he met Walker Evans, Hemingway may have been escaping to this other, strange world. On the one hand more dangerous, on the other more comfortable. He spent his days fishing for the big ones and his evenings discussing literature, current news, and politics.
Twenty years later he described his memory of those two weeks as "sitting in bars with Walker Evans drinking and plotting the overthrow of Machado."
Music fade out.
And as always, he never stopped working on his next story. During this trip, it appears, through what we can see in the Evans photos that Hemingway was fleshing out the details for his next short story, "One Trip Across." Eventually this story became the first segment of "To Have and Have Not."
Unfortunately, there is precious little documentation of the details surrounding this encounter between two great artists. But it appears through their work shown here side by side, that their influence on each other was significant.


Object labels from the exhibition

1 Walker Evans Lottery-ticket vendors 1933 Gelatin silver print

2 Walker Evans Parquet Central II (Sleeping man) 1933 Gelatin silver print

3 Walker Evans Beggar 1933 Gelatin silver print

4 Walker Evans Street vendors 1933 Gelatin silver print

5 Walker Evans Havana: Country family 1933 Gelatin silver print

6 Walker Evans Breadline 1933 Gelatin silver print

7 Walker Evans Patrol 1933 Gelatin silver print

8 Walker Evans Newsboys 1933 Gelatin silver print

9 Walker Evans Havana beggar 1933 Gelatin silver print

10 Walker Evans Courtyard kitchen 1933 Gelatin silver print

11 Walker Evans Senorita at a cafe 1933 Gelatin silver print

12 Walker Evans Village of Havana poor 1933 Gelatin silver print

13 Walker Evans Negro child 1933 Gelatin silver print

14 Walker Evans Old Havana house front 1933 Gelatin silver print

15 Walker Evans Doorway with hanging pots and kitchenware, Havana 1933 Gelatin silver print

16 Walker Evans People in downtown Havana, shoeshine newsstand 1933 Gelatin silver print

17 Walker Evans Havana fruit stand 1933 Gelatin silver print

18 Walker Evans Street scene, people on curb 1933 Gelatin silver print

19 Walker Evans Landscape with house 1933 Gelatin silver print

20 Walker Evans Five palm trees 1933 Gelatin silver print

21 Walker Evans Overview of a market scene 1933 Gelatin silver print

22 Walker Evans Porch with drying laundry 1933 Gelatin silver print

23 Walker Evans Harbor view with masted boat 1933 Gelatin silver print

24 Walker Evans Fruit cart with vendor 1933 Gelatin silver print

25 Walker Evans Breadline 1933 Gelatin silver print

26 Walker Evans Man seated on a bench, rear view 1933 Gelatin silver print

27 Walker Evans Primitive kitchen 1933 Gelatin silver print

28 Walker Evans Young man asleep in doorway 1933 Gelatin silver print

29 Walker Evans Fruit cart with two men 1933 Gelatin silver print

30 Walker Evans Tenement window 1933 Gelatin silver print

31 Anonymous photograph copied by Evans for "Crime of Cuba" assignment A document of terror 1933 Gelatin silver print

32 Anonymous photograph copied by Evans for "Crime of Cuba" assignment Corpse of Gonzales Rubiera 1933 Gelatin silver print

33 Anonymous photograph copied by Evans for "Crime of Cuba" assignment Terrorist students in jail 1933 Gelatin silver print

34 Anonymous photograph copied by Evans for "Crime of Cuba" assignment Street altercation with policemen 1933 Gelatin silver print

35 Anonymous photograph copied by Evans for "Crime of Cuba" assignment Uniformed men 1933 Gelatin silver print

36 Anonymous photograph copied by Evans for "Crime of Cuba" assignment Melee with policemen and civilians 1933 Gelatin silver print

37 Anonymous photograph copied by Evans for "Crime of Cuba" assignment ABC note with postmortem of dead man 1933 Gelatin silver print

39 Toby Bruce Ernest Hemingway fishing on the "Pilar" 1934-35 Modern print

40 Photographer unknown The catch 1933 Modern print

41 Photographer unknown Ernest Hemingway on the "Pilar" 1934-35 Modern print

42 Photographer unknown Cat Key, Bahamas 1935 Modern print

44 Photographer unknown Cojimar II May 1933 Modern print

45 Photographer unknown Marlin, Ernest Hemingway, and Joe Russell June 1933 Modern print

64 Photographer unknown Hemingway and friends on the "Anita" in Cuba 1933 Modern print

65 Photographer unknown Hemingway and friends in Cojimar 1933 Modern print

Editor's note: To contact Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions please see Resource Library extends its appreciation to Sandy Choi of CATE for her help in providing supplemental texts for this article

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