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Travel & Art
The Americans: Robert Frank Images at Sothebyís
2015-12-13 08:14:20
By Carole Dixon

On 17 December, Sotheby’s will offer at auction an outstanding collection of images from Robert Frank’s The Americans, one of the most influential books of photography ever published. Collectors Ruth and Jake Bloom assembled this extraordinary group of iconic photographs over more than two decades, collecting 77 of the 83 pictures reproduced in the book. This seminal series of images, so compelling on the printed page, gains a new resonance when seen as photographic prints. The sale this December will represent the first time such an extensive collection of photographs from The Americans has appeared at public auction. The exhibition will be on view in New York beginning on December 12, 2015,

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

In 1955, the Swiss-born Robert Frank earned a Guggenheim Fellowship that allowed him to embark upon a series of photographic trips throughout America. Frank produced thousands of images on these trips, which he carefully and meticulously edited into the selection of 83 images that were first published as Les Américains in France in 1958, and as The Americans in this country in 1959.Frank’s gritty yet profoundly nuanced photographs of post-war America presented a view of a country at odds with the uncritical vision of prosperity offered by the media at the time. Beat poet and writer Jack Kerouac, in his introduction to the 1959 edition, wrote that Frank photographed with “the agility, mystery, genius, sadness and strange secrecy of a shadow,” and “sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film.” Reviewed critically at the time, The Americans has come to have a profound impact upon photography and culture to this day. The New York Times recently declared Frank “the most influential photographer alive.”

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