Sotheby's to auction Robert Frank photographs from The Americans



2015-11-03 10:21:04

A collection of Robert Frank photographs from his landmark work The Americans will be sold at Sotheby's next month.

Published in 1959, Frank's book is regarded as one of the most important photography books of the 20th century, and Los Angeles collectors Ruth and Jake Bloom spent 20 years gathering 77 of the 83 images reproduced in the book.

“It is truly a unique opportunity to offer this remarkable collection at auction, particularly as it is one of the most comprehensive groupings of The Americans known to be in private hands," said Christopher Mahoney, Head of Sotheby’s Photographs Department.

"The series is one of the great accomplishments in the canon of postwar photography, and seeing these photographs together is a powerful experience and a testament to Ruth and Jake’s status as visionary collectors.”

In 1955 Robert Frank earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, which allowed him to set off on a series of journeys across America armed with his camera. He then edited 28,000 photographs down to 83 images which, according to the book's introduction by Jack Kerouac, “sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film.”

Despite initial criticism and poor sales, the book has come to be recognized as a seminal work which has influenced generations of photographers.

“What Frank captured reminded me of my childhood and an America I was familiar with," said Ms. Bloom. "The patriotism, the poverty, the family love and despair, as well as a time in our country when family was center place in our lives."

The Ruth and Jake Bloom Collection of photographs will be sold at a dedicated single-owner sale in New York on December 17.

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