Walter O. Evans, The Collector

Throughout his life, Dr. Walter. O. Evans has invested in his culture and in humanity. In 1978 he began collecting art with the acquistion of Jacob Lawrence’s portfolio The Legend of John Brown series, which had been commissioned by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Dr. Evans then added pieces by Romare Bearden and Elizabeth Catlett, but he consciously began building a collection in 1981. At that time he went to Seattle to meet Jacob Lawrence. In this first stage of collecting, he only sought works by African Americans that contained African American subjects. Over time, the range has become more diverse, reflecting Dr. Evans’ growth as a collector.

Dr. Evans’ professional life has been in the field of medicine. He received an undergraduate education at Howard University in Washington, D.C. After moving to Michigan, he completed his medical studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and he served his residency at hospitals affiliated with Wayne State University. Dr. Evans worked in Detroit as a surgeon for twenty-five years.

Dr. Evans also collects rare books and literature pertaining to the African American experience. He remarks that his collections are not complete and that “As long as I am a collector, I will always have new things to learn; collecting adds a dimension of growth to my life.”

Image Caption: Aaron Douglas, The Creation, 1927, gouache on paper. Walter O. Evans Collection. (left)