Robert Frank - Photographs New York Tuesday, October 1, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Collection of the artist
    Lunn Gallery, Washington, D.C.
    Robert Freidus Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above, 1989

  • Literature

    Greenough, Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans, p. 173

  • Catalogue Essay

    This evocative study of a Chicago gas station at dusk was made by Robert Frank in May 1956. It appears on Contact Sheet #737 in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., which includes images he made from Iowa City to Chicago. The National Gallery also holds another Frank image of the gas station, made at the same time, in a horizontal format (1990.28.1082).

    In the years leading up to the 1959 publication of The Americans, Frank engaged in a cycle of travel, photographing, printing, and editing that was financed by two successive Guggenheim Fellowships and whatever commercial work he could fit into his peripatetic schedule. In summer of that year, Frank developed 767 rolls of film exposed on the road and began making prints which he stapled to the walls of his apartment for his review. The image offered here was in that group and can be seen in the photograph of Frank’s 1956 work prints reproduced in Looking In: Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’ (p. 173). As of this writing it is believed that a print of this image has never before appeared 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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Gas Station, Chicago

Gelatin silver print, printed circa 1960.
12 7/8 x 8 3/8 in. (32.7 x 21.3 cm)
Signed in ink in the margin; 'Robert Frank Archive' and copyright credit stamps on the verso.

$25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for $62,500

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New York Auction 1 October 2019