Robert Frank’s original sequence of images in The Americans has remained consistent throughout its publication history, from the 1958 edition of Les Américains through the latest iterations of this classic book. While we have declined toreplicate Frank’s original sequence in this catalogue, an illustrated key showing the images in their proper orderappears as Appendix A. Additionally, we have listed the sequence number of each photograph in the Literature section of the cataloguing. For instance, in the catalogue entry for Lot 1, U. S. 285, New Mexico, the first page reference reads ‘The Americans, no. 36,’ indicating that thisis the 36th image in Frank’s sequencing, and thus the 36th image in every edition of The Americans.
We have striven to include all relevant bibliographical references for each image. Following The Americans sequence number is the citation for Sarah Greenough’s Looking in: Robert Frank’s The Americans, the most complete reference for Frank’s work during his Americans period, and the de facto Catalogue Raisonné. Subsequent literaturereferences proceed in chronological order, from earliest to most recent. Complete bibliographical information on thecited works appears as Appendix B.
Robert Frank was consistently inconsistent about how he printed, cropped, signed, titled, and marked his photographs throughout his career. In this catalogue we have used the titles that Frank inscribed on the prints, when present. In many instances, Frank’s written titles vary from those published in The Americans. In such cases, we have indicated the published title in parentheses, whole or in part.
Definitive dating of Robert Frank’s photographs remains a challenge. We have tried to determine as accurately as possible the print date for each photograph offered here. In the overwhelming number of instances, we have confined the print date to a specific decade. In others, where appropriate, we have indicated a greater range of potential print dates. The ‘archive’ and ‘copyright’ stamps referred to in the cataloguing are illustrated here. The ‘archive’ and ‘copyright’ stamps referred to in the cataloguing are illustrated opposite. The ‘archive’ stamp originated with pioneering photography dealer Harry Lunn. A printed announcement from around 1977 states that ‘Lunn Gallery/Graphics International Ltd., has been designated exclusive dealer for the sale of prints by Robert Frank from his earliest images until 1966 when he turned from still photography to films. A definitive archive of fine prints from this important period is being established by the artist drawing on his personal collection of vintage and more recent prints.’ Lunn formulated the Robert Frank Archive stamp to designate these prints. The stamp was applied to prints that Lunn sold, although not all prints sold by Lunn received this stamp. It can be assumed that prints bearing this stamp were handled by Lunn, likely between 1978 and around 1980.