- Robert Frank
- BRATTLEBORO VERMONT - FIFTH AVENUE NEW YORK CITY
- gelatin silver
Constance Sullivan, ed., Legacy of Light (New York, 1987), p. 135 (this print)
Other prints of this image:
Robert Frank, The Lines of My Hand (New York, 1989), unpaginated
Sarah Greenough and Philip Brookman, Robert Frank: Moving Out (Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art, 1994), p. 245
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Following the publication of The Americans in 1955, and his From the Bus series of 1958, Robert Frank began to move away from still photography to concentrate on filmmaking. In 1959, Frank collaborated with Alfred Leslie on his first film, Pull My Daisy, one of the most influential independent films ever made. The more fluid narrative of film was a logical next step for an artist sensitive to the relationships between images, a photographer who had always sequenced his images to enhance their meaning.
Soon after moving to Mabou, Nova Scotia, in the early 1970s, however, Frank returned to still photography, but with a difference. Informed by his experiences as a filmmaker, his visually autobiographical Lines of My Hand of 1972 utilized film negatives to create photographs comprised of multiple images. In 1974, he began to work with a Polaroid Land 196 camera and Type 655 positive/negative film, immediately grasping Polaroid's creative potential for improvisation and spontaneity. His experiments with Polaroid cameras and film produced a series of intensely personal images and photographic assemblages that Philip Brookman has referred to as 'rough-and-ready statements about loss and illness, hope and absolution' (Looking In, p. 237). As Sean O'Hagan reported in The Observer in 2009, Frank once said that the focus of his later work 'had shifted from being about what I saw to being about what I felt.'
To that end, Frank photographed familiar and personally meaningful subjects—Mabou landscapes (Lot 12), his domestic surroundings in Mabou and New York (Lot 13), and his wife June Leaf and son Pablo, among others. He often shot into mirrors and through windows, then hand-worked the Polaroid negatives, scratching words and thoughts directly on them, or combining images from several negatives to create layered, almost dream-like narrative montages, such as the prints offered here and in Lot 172.