The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, September 17, 2019


Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94
Robert Frank, Trolley - New Orleans, 1955. © Robert Frank from The Americans, courtesy Pace/MacGill.

by Maggy Donaldson


WASHINGTON (AFP).- Robert Frank, a trailblazing documentary photographer whose raw, piercing aesthetic placed him among the 20th century's greats, has died, according to his gallery. He was 94 years old.

The Swiss-born photographer rose to fame with the publication of his landmark book "The Americans," an unflinching look at US society that proved hugely influential.

A spokesperson from the Manhattan gallery Pace/MacGill told AFP that Frank died overnight of natural causes in Inverness, Nova Scotia.

His seminal book -- published in France in 1958 and in America one year later -- emerged out of a series of road trips across the United States with his family in the mid-1950s, a journey akin to those made by his friend and writer Jack Kerouac and others from the "Beat Generation."

Eschewing classic photographic techniques, Frank pioneered the snapshot, capturing telling vignettes in black and white as they presented themselves, exploring the realities of everyday people for whom the American Dream rang hollow.

He produced 28,000 images that were boiled down to 83 for the book that rewrote the rules of photojournalism.

As Kerouac wrote in the preface of the US edition, Frank "sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film."

At lunch counters and drive-in movie theaters, on Route 66 and at champagne get-togethers, his gritty, subjective style laid bare a wide range of emotions and relationships, notably racial, that were rarely found in the popular illustrated magazines of the time.

Praising Frank's "extraordinarily keen intellect," his gallerist and friend Peter MacGill said the artist "changed the way the world looks at America."

"Through the unvarnished, phenomenally capable eye of an immigrant, he saw us for what we are."

'Tired of romanticism'
Born on November 9, 1924 in Zurich, Switzerland, Frank grew up in a family of German Jewish industrialists, and became passionate about photography at the age of 12. He trained as a photo assistant in Zurich and Basel from 1940 to 1942.

After World War II, he moved to the United States, pursuing fashion and reporting photography for magazines that included Fortune, Life, Look and Harper's Bazaar.

He grew "tired of romanticism," and, armed with his gut and a pair of Leicas, Frank began recording scenes of daily life.

He developed a friendship with fellow photographer Walker Evans, whose Depression-era photos intrigued him.

But Frank pursued themes including alienation, mass culture and veiled violence with a spontaneity that stood in sharp contrast to Evans' carefully crafted work.

A Guggenheim fellowship gave him the opportunity to visit 48 US states, and he brought back frames of a weary, hard and divided country.

He also found beauty in the overlooked, photographing cars, diners and jukeboxes that went down in the iconography of American life.

And yet, "he never crossed over into celebrity," said photographer Nan Goldin. "He's famous because he made a mark. He collected the world."

Sick of goodbyes
As his reputation grew, Frank abruptly shifted into underground filmmaking, making several films, including "Pull My Daisy" (1959), based on Beat icon Neal Cassady, and a documentary about The Rolling Stones called "Cocksucker Blues" (1972).

After learning of his death, the legendary English rockers he chronicled dubbed him a "visionary," saying in a statement that Frank "was an incredible artist whose unique style broke the mold."

Frank returned to photography after tragedy struck his family with the death of his daughter Andrea in a 1974 plane crash.

He divorced his first wife and had two children. His son Pablo, who suffered from schizophrenia, killed himself in 1994.

In the meantime, Frank's work had "shifted from being about what I saw to what I felt," he told The Guardian. "I didn't believe in the beauty of a photograph anymore."

He began to create montages, write on his pictures and scratch the negatives.

Remarking on one of Frank's staged silver gelatin prints from 1978 -- called "Sick of Goodby's" for a phrase in it that is cursorily daubed on a mirror -- the late rocker Lou Reed said "the photos speak of an acceptance of things as they are."

"Robert Frank is a great democrat," Reed said. "We're all in these photos. Paint dripping from a mirror like blood."

"I'm sick of goodbyes. And aren't we all, but it's nice to see it said."


© Agence France-Presse






Today's News

September 11, 2019

Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

Christie's France to offer masterpieces from Africa, Oceania and North America

Ugo Rondinone & Sotheby's to present 'Stop Bladder Cancer' as part of the Contemporary Curated Auction

Painting by Joseph Anton Koch returns to the Städel

Spectacular stained-glass windows from the Whitney Museum of American Art's original home rediscovered

Tokyo Chuo Auction launches new logo in celebration of a new milestone

Christie's announces nearly 300 works to be offered in two live auctions

Design Museum announces Beazley Designs of the Year nominees

Hamiltons Gallery exhibits two rare portfolios by Richard Avedon

Sculpture and abstraction shines in October 8 sale of African-American Fine Art

albertz benda opens fall season with exhibition of works by Conrad Egyir & Patrick Quarm

National Portrait Gallery celebrates first season of new podcast, "Portraits"

A survey of William Bailey's work includes some of his finest and rarely exhibited paintings

Dennis Oppenheim, Frank Lloyd Wright among artists featured in Heritage Auctions' Design Auction

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens retires long-term debt with help from their Living Museum model

MOCA North Miami opens South Florida Cultural Consortium Exhibition

Artists contribute to charity auction at Bonhams in aid of National Saturday Club

Elephant West hosts a series of adventurous and immersive installations

Annet Gelink Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Anders Dickson

The Fundació Joan Miró opens the photography exhibition Cunningham, Cage & Tudor (Sitges, 1966)

Tarik Kiswanson's second solo exhibition with Almine Rech opens in Paris

'Listen to the Hum': Alice Black opens a group exhibition

The Fahey/Klein Gallery opens a solo exhibition of works by photographer Paolo Roversi

15 Terms Everyone in the Hospital Management Software Industry Should Know

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival

2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled

3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges

4.- Lévy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year

5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist

6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy

7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production

8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society

10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful