Robert Frank - Photographs London Wednesday, May 17, 2017 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

  • Literature

    Time-LIFE Books ed., Documentary Photography, New York: Time LIFE International, 1972, p. 171
    R. Frank, The Americans, New York: Aperture, 1978, p. 37
    M. Weaver, ed., The Art of Photography, 1839-1989, New Haven: Yale, 1989, pl. 321
    S. Greenough and P. Brookman, Robert Frank: Moving Out, Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art, 1994, pp. 173 and 197
    Robert Frank's The Americans: Looking In, Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art, 2009, pp. xiii, 174, 225 and 463

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1955, after being awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, Robert Frank set out to travel the United States, seeking ‘to portray Americans as they live at present. Their every day and their Sunday, their realism and dreams.’ The resulting body of work The Americans was published first in France in 1958 and then in the US the following year. Contrasting the powerful against the powerless, the project ‘signifies the kind of civilization born here and spreading elsewhere.’ Although Frank had travelled extensively in Europe and South America, he was not prepared for segregation in the American South; for him ‘that was the strongest and most unforgettable impression. The injustice to people who have another skin color.’ The present work Charleston, South Carolina shows a black nanny holding a white baby. ‘I found it extraordinary,’ Frank comments, ‘that whites would give their children to black women when they wouldn’t allow women to sit next to them in a drugstore. I did very few pictures that made a political point like this.’

  • 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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Charleston, South Carolina

Gelatin silver print, printed 1979.
21.3 x 32.4 cm (8 3/8 x 12 3/4 in.)
Signed, titled and dated in ink in the margin; credited, dated in ink, copyright, credit and Archive stamps on the verso.

£50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for £47,500

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London Auction 18 May 2017