Robert Frank - Photographs New York Tuesday, October 1, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Halsted Gallery, Bloomfield Hills

  • Exhibited

    Visions of Hope & Despair, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 25 March- 30 May 1995

  • Literature

    National Gallery of Art, Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans, cover and pl. 1
    National Gallery of Art, Robert Frank: Moving Out, p. 175
    Pantheon Books, The Lines of My Hand, n.p.
    Scalo, The Americans, cover and pl. 1
    Szarkowski, Photography Until Now, p. 258
    Szarkowski, The Photographer's Eye, p. 155
    Weski and Dexter, Cruel and Tender: The Real in the Twentieth-Century Photograph, p. 101
    Weski and Liesbrock, How You Look At It: Photographs of the 20th Century, p. 199

  • Catalogue Essay

    "When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of poem twice."
    -Robert Frank

    In his 1955 application to a Guggenheim Fellowship, Robert Frank expressed his wish to reveal “what one naturalized American finds to see in the United States that signifies the kind of civilization born here and spreading elsewhere...things that are there anywhere and everywhere— easily found, not easily selected and interpreted.” That is, Frank’s wish was to roll up America’s manicured lawn to reveal the underlying tensions, discrepancies and hierarchies that he sensed were largely absent from mainstream media. Over a period of nine months, Frank traveled across the United States, armed with an objective if sensitive eye, searching for moments of hidden irony that would have otherwise gone unrecorded. From the twenty-seven thousand frames at the end of his trip, Frank narrowed his selection down to the eighty-two that he felt embodied the mission of the trip, rich in poignancy and critique.

    The American flag is featured in four photographs within The Americans: Fourth of July–Jay, New York, 1954; Navy Recruiting Station, Post Office– Butte, Montana, 1956; Bar– Detroit, 1955; and Parade– Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955, as seen in the current lot. In lieu of capturing the cheering crowds, the flickering confetti or the familial joy that typified most photojournalistic depictions of Fourth of July parades, Frank chose to turn his lens to two individuals peering behind isolated windows nearby, neither appearing celebratory or gleeful. The flag that billows between them appears cumbersome, fully obfuscating one of the individuals’ face. The image is a simple and stark reminder of the potential complication underlying the intersection of nationalism and identity and stands in contrast to the contrived images of optimism that largely dominated Post-War American media.

  • 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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Parade— Hoboken, New Jersey

Gelatin silver print, printed 1970s.
8 1/8 x 12 3/8 in. (20.6 x 31.4 cm)
Signed, titled and dated in ink in the margin.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $137,000

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs
+1 212 940 1245


New York 30 September & 1 October 2013