Robert Frank - Photographs New York Monday, April 4, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Laurence Miller Gallery, New York

  • Literature

    Frank, The Lines of My Hand, n.p., variant
    National Gallery of Art, Washington, Robert Frank: Moving Out, p. 216-217, variant

  • Catalogue Essay

    Taken the year following his groundbreaking The Americans Robert Frank’s Inauguration Day (Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.) carries the same hallmarks of composition and artistry in documenting this American scene. Just as in his most celebrated photograph of the trolley in New Orleans, Frank uses the natural divide of the window to break up the picture plane, highlighting the newly reelected politicians tasked with representing and handling the diversity and impending social changes of the American public in a post war period. The older men set further into the background on the left, while the two younger figures isolated and obstructed behind the stately leaders allude to the shifts and disparity in generations and gender. The glare from the lights, patterned wallpaper, and reflections of the neighboring windows bounce across the glass highlighting Frank’s always present artistic nuances. A variation of this scene was published in Frank’s book The Lines of My Hand in 1989 and only once has another variant of this photograph been previously offered at auction.

  • 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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Inauguration Day (Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.)

Gelatin silver print, printed 1960's.
8 7/8 x 13 in. (22.5 x 33 cm)
Signed in ink, titled and dated '1956' [sic] in an unidentified hand in pencil on the verso.

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $37,500

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Vanessa Hallett
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New York Auction 4 April 2016