Robert Frank - Photographs New York Saturday, April 9, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

  • Literature

    Green, American Photography: A Critical History, 1945 to the Present, p. 90; National Gallery of Art, Washington/Steidl, Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans, p. 236;
    Scalo, The Americans, pl. 22

  • Catalogue Essay

    In his introduction to Robert Frank’s seminal book, The Americans, Jack Kerouac wrote, “…he will definitely be hailed as a great artist in his field. After seeing these pictures you end up finally not knowing any more whether a jukebox is sadder than a coffin. That’s because he’s always taking pictures of jukeboxes and coffins—and intermediary mysteries…” As one of the keenest observers of the discrepancies underlying the social, cultural, political, economic, and perhaps most notably—racial relations, Robert Frank’s compilation of 83 images in The Americans collectively expose a narrative that had been considered taboo and outright invisible. In Café-Beaufort, South Carolina, a jukebox, an emblem of American leisurely pastime and 50’s Pop culture, is propped in a stark setting, aloofly towering on the far left side of the scene. An unattended African American baby aimlessly crawls nearby. The image reminds viewers of the racial dynamics that still typified the country at the time, where African Americans’ access to the world of entertainment was still severely limited. That the subject is a baby hints at the intergenerational legacy of the unbalanced dynamic and captures Frank’s astute social awareness.

  • Artist Biography

    Robert Frank

    Swiss • 1924

    As one of the leading visionaries of mid-century American photography, Robert Frank has created an indelible body of work, rich in insight and poignant in foresight. In his famed series The Americans, Frank travelled the United States, capturing the parade of characters, hierarchies and imbalances that conveyed his view of the great American social landscape.

    Frank broke the mold of what was considered successful documentary photography with his "snapshot aesthetic." It is Frank's portrayal of the United States through grit and grain that once brought his work to the apex of criticism, but has now come to define the art of documentary photography.

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Café-Beaufort, South Carolina

Gelatin silver print, printed 1960s, flush-mounted.
12 1/2 x 18 3/4 in. (31.8 x 47.6 cm).
Signed, titled 'South Carolina' and dated in ink on the recto.

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $182,500


9 April 2011
New York