First published in France in 1958, then in the United States in 1959, Robert Frank's “The Americans” exploded onto twentieth-century photography redefining what a photograph and a photography book could mean. In 83 photographs (from 81 rolls of film) Frank looked beneath the surface of American life to reveal a view of America that upended the comfortable vision that dominated the country’s iconography. He saw a nation torn between poverty and privilege, and beset by alienation and an ever expanding consumer culture, and yet he also found beauty in the simple, overlooked corners of American life. A visual masterpiece, Frank’s intuitive, off-kilter style linked his photographs together thematically and conceptually to make “The Americans” an artistic game changer.
Danziger Gallery is pleased to present the legendary but rarely seen limited edition portfolio “ROBERT FRANK - THE AMERICANS, 81 contact sheets”. Published in Japan in 2009 the boxed set reproduces every contact sheet from “The Americans” at double the size of a normal 35mm frame and at the highest lithographic reproduction quality. Originally published in an edition of 220 – only 30 sets remain for sale, for which we are the exclusive agents.
The genesis of the contact sheet project came from the passion of a Japanese civil servant named Kazuhiko Motomura. A local tax officer who became enamored of visual art watching Kurosawa films, after seeing Frank’s work for the first time in 1972, Motomura flew to New York to try to meet Frank. His goal was to be the first to publish a book of his work in Japan. Although Frank spoke no Japanese and Motomura no English, they felt a kindred spirit and from that relationship came the first of Motomura’s publications – Robert Frank’s “Lines Of My Hand”. (Over the next forty years Motomura was to publish only three more books.)
Motomura’s last publication - and his dream project - was the definitive study of Frank’s contact sheets of “The Americans” with every sheet laid out in sequence and showing Frank’s various editing marks along with Frank’s comments on the pictures. In keeping with his impeccable standards, the set comes housed in a specially designed wooden box with Frank’s signature burned into the top.
One set is available to purchase as individual plates. Otherwise the contact sheets can only be purchased as complete sets. Please contact the gallery for details.