The collection of Sol Mednick
Donated to the Philadelphia College of Art, 1966
Christie’s East, 8 November 1983, Sale 5421, Lot 106
Pace/MacGill Gallery, acquired from the above
Private collection, acquired from the above
Other prints of this image:
Robert Frank, The Americans (Pantheon edition), p. 11
Robert Frank, The Americans (SCALO edition), cover and p. 11
Robert Frank, Lines of My Hand (Pantheon, 1989), unpaginated
Sarah Greenough and Philip Brookman, Robert Frank: Moving Out (National Gallery of Art, 1994), p. 175
John Szarkowski, Photography Until Now (The Museum of Modern Art, 1989), p. 258
Peter Galassi, Walker Evans & Company (The Museum of Modern Art, 2000), p. 250
Peter Galassi, American Photography, 1890-1965, from The Museum of Modern Art (The Museum of Modern Art, 1995), p. 215
Robert A. Sobieszek, Masterpieces of Photography from the George Eastman House Collections (New York, 1985), p. 347
Lorraine Anne Davis and Marjatta Hölz, Pioneers of American Photography: Masterworks of the Pfeifer Collection (Karlsruhe, 2001), pl. 39
This early print of Robert Frank's Hoboken was originally acquired by photographer and educator Sol Mednick. Born in Philadelphia, Mednick’s early interest in art led him to the Philadelphia College of Art, and later to the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, where he studied design under the influential Alexey Brodovitch. After World War II, Mednick worked as a freelance illustrator, designer, and photographer in New York City and Philadelphia. In 1951, he began teaching photography at the Philadelphia College of Art, splitting his time between teaching and freelance photography jobs. His connection to the commercial world enabled him to teach his students the skills they would need to become successful professionals. Under his stewardship, the College Photography Department grew to ten faculty members and eventually included courses in film, television, and sound. He was a founding member of the Society for Photographic Educators. The Sol Mednick Gallery at the Philadelphia College of Art, now the University of the Arts, was named for him.
Mednick’s passion for photography led him to build an impressive collection of work by important photographers, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Eugene Atget, and Brett Weston among them. In 1966, he donated a group of photographs from his collection to the Philadelphia College of Art. This collection was kept by the College until 1983, when it was decided that it was unfeasible for the school to store, maintain, and insure the valuable collection. The photographs were sold at Christie’s East, on 8 November 1983. One of the photographs, offered as Lot 20 in that sale, was a Diane Arbus print of Burlesque Comedienne, Atlantic City, N. J., inscribed by Arbus, ‘Dear Sol, The First.'
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