Lot 224
  • 224


100,000 - 150,000 USD
162,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Robert Frank
  • Peru
  • 39 gelatin silver prints mounted back to back with a spiral binding
  • The photographs various sizes to 7 7/8  by 9 3/4  in. (20 by 24.8 cm.)
a unique book, comprising 39 photographs, each mounted back to back, 1948. Folio, spiral-bound, signed and inscribed 'To Mr. Brodovitch, / Before leaving New York / I want to thank you / and wish you / good luck / bonne chance' in ink on the first page, a typed The Museum of Modern Art label, signed by Joel Meyerowitz in pencil, on the inside front cover. The whole in a modern black cloth clamshell box, gilt-stamped leather label on the spine


Gift of the photographer to Alexey Brodovitch, 1949

Alexey Brodovitch to Joel Meyerowitz, 1960s

Christie's New York, 8 April 2011, Sale 2431, Lot 452

Catalogue Note

Robert Frank’s departure from New York for South America in 1948 was precipitated not only by the closing of the Harper’s Bazaar photography studio, where he had worked under art director Alexey Brodovitch, but also out of a dissatisfaction with working in fashion photography and an urge to photograph unencumbered by assignments.

Frank’s early photographs from Peru herald the themes and devices that would be fully developed in his influential photobook, The Americans (1958).  As a Swiss-born photographer, Frank observed the people of Peru with no judgement; rather, the images taken on his journey reveal a documentarian’s expert timing, sensitivity, and an genuine fascination with the people encountered.

Although Peru was not his first attempt at book construction, it continued the experimentation and unconventional design of his earlier effort, 40 Fotos (1946), by way of a non-linear layout and playful comparisons.  Brodovitch’s influence is evident in the innovative book design, and Frank showed his appreciation by gifting his mentor and friend the present copy, one of only two he produced. A second, slightly different maquette was given to his mother on her birthday in 1949; it is now in the Robert Frank Archive at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.