Robert Frank - Photographs New York Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Phillips

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  • While Robert Frank primarily traveled alone while taking the images that would culminate in the publication of The Americans, his wife, Mary, and small children, Pablo and Andrea, joined him in Houston in November 1955 and traveled with him all the way to Los Angeles where they rented a house for the winter. The family stayed together through March, and Mary helped Frank write the application for the renewal of his Guggenheim Fellowship before flying home with the children. This diptych, in which Pablo peers out from behind the curtains of a sparsely furnished motel room, showcases a playful side to Frank’s photography not always evident. The diptych looks forward to the work Frank would create in the 1970s and 80s that dealt more directly with personal themes.


    The diptych was illustrated in the 1972 Japanese edition of Frank’s book Lines of My Hand. While Frank consistently located this photograph in Gallup, New Mexico, the locale is more probably Kingman, Arizona, according to Paul Roth, former Archivist of the Robert Frank collection at the National Gallery of Art.

    • Provenance

      Christie's, New York, 10 October 1991, lot 191
      Laurence Miller Gallery, New York

    • Literature

      Frank, Lines of My Hand (Yugensha, 1972), pp. 81-82
      Greenough and Brookman, Robert Frank: Moving Out, pp. 170-71

    • 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


Motel Room, Gallup NM

Gelatin silver print diptych, printed 1970s.
8 1/8 x 24 1/2 in. (20.6 x 62.2 cm)
Signed, titled and dated in ink in the margin; one print signed in ink, each titled in pencil and with copyright credit reproduction limitation and ‘Robert Frank Archive’ stamps on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$15,000 - 25,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department
+1 212 940 1225


Vanessa Hallett
Deputy Chairwoman, Americas and Worldwide Head of Photographs
+1 212 940 1243


New York Auction 7 October 2021