Robert Frank - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 14, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The artist to Werner Zryd, Zurich
    Private Collection, Zurich

  • Literature

    ‘The Poet’s Camera Sees Everything,’ LIFE, 26 November 1951, p. 21
    Photography at The Museum of Modern Art Bulletin, vol XIX, No, 4, 1952, cover
    Frank, Lines of My Hand, n. p.
    Frank, Black White and Things, pl. 20
    Greenough and Brookman, Robert Frank: Moving Out, p. 31
    Greenough, Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans, p. 46 and pl. 45
    Aperture, Robert Frank, p. 89

  • Catalogue Essay

    Street Line, 34th Street, New York City was an important image in Robert Frank’s early career. It was among the first group of photographs acquired by Edward Steichen for The Museum of Modern Art in 1950, and was shown in the museum’s exhibition 51 American Photographers in that year. It was published in LIFE magazine in November 1951 as a winning image in the Young Photographers Contest, and was subsequently featured on the cover of The Museum of Modern Art Bulletin in 1952 that focused on the Photography Department.

    This photograph was originally in the collection of Werner Zryd, a Swiss graphic designer with a long association with Robert Frank. Zryd was the designer of Frank’s 1952 maquette, Black White and Things. Illustrated with actual photographs, and produced in an edition of 3, Black White and Things represented a deepening of Frank’s understanding of presenting images in a sequence and is a direct precursor to his masterwork, The Americans, produced later in the decade. The book is broken into three sections, as indicated by the title, and Street Line, 34th Street, New York City, appears as the final plate in the book’s White section.

  • 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.

    View More Works


Street Line, 34th Street, New York City

Gelatin silver print, probably printed in the 1950s.
13 3/4 x 9 in. (34.9 x 22.9 cm)
Signed, dated, and annotated 'NYC' in ink in the margin; a Werner Zryd, Zurich collection stamp on the verso.

$70,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $112,500

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairwoman, Americas



New York Auction 14 October 2020