Feb 10, 2022 - Sale 2594

Sale 2594 - Lot 141

Price Realized: $ 22,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 25,000 - $ 35,000
ROBERT FRANK (1924-2019)
Los Angeles. Silver print, the image measuring 12 7/8x8 1/2 inches (32.7x21.6 cm.), the sheet 14x11 inches (35.6x27.9 cm.), with Frank's signature, in ink, on recto. 1956; printed 1960s

Additional Details

In 1968 Robert and Mary Frank donated this print to Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights for inclusion in the institution's first fundraising auction. It was purchased by Louis and Helen Silverstein, who had solicited the donation and were also friends and colleagues of the Franks.

Louis Silverstein was a groundbreaking art director for the New York Times, who, over the course of his long career, would revolutionize the appearance and visual language of the newspaper (he became known as the godfather of modern newspaper design). Silverstein first encountered Frank's work in Fortune magazine, and invited the young photographer to his offices in New York. What followed was a sustained and incredibly fruitful working relationship between the two which would lead, among other things, to the publication New York Is.

In 1954, Frank applied to the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship. For the following two years, Frank would travel across the nation to document American life through photography. The imagery produced by the artist during this time is seen as some of the most iconic of its time. In his application, Frank wrote that his goal was "to photograph freely throughout the United States, using the miniature camera exclusively. The making of a broad, voluminous picture record of things American, past and present."

Frank's masterful understanding of visual irony is made clear in this 1956 photograph of Los Angeles. The linear, angular structure of the cityscape, in addition to the contrasty arrow, both direct our attention in multiple ways. On one level, we are drawn vertically: the street, sidewalk and building each align into thirds. On the other, we are drawn horizontally, following the passerby. This image provokes a near dolly zoom effect on the viewer.

Frank, The Americans (Grove Press), pl. 61