• Photographs auction at Christies

    Sale 2206


    8 October 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 781

    ROBERT FRANK (B. 1924)

    Fish Kill, New York, 1955

    Price Realised  


    ROBERT FRANK (B. 1924)
    Fish Kill, New York, 1955
    gelatin silver print, printed c. 1969
    signed, titled and dated in ink (on the recto)
    16 5/8 x 13 5/8in. (42.2 x 34.6cm.)

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    First published on the cover of Evergreen Review, this was the most frequently reproduced of The Americans photographs before the book itself was issued. It struck a chord among the rapidly growing culture of disaffected youth. It recalls James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and Marlon Brando's character in The Wild One. Evergreen Review was produced by Barney Rosset's Grove Press, the daring counterculture publisher of Samuel Beckett's 1954 Waiting for Godot that was also known for overturning obscenity lawsuits for an unexpurgated version of D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover. It seems only natural that Grove Press would be the only American publisher willing to take a chance and release Robert Frank's book in 1959 as well as Henry Miller's provocative Tropic of Cancer a little over a year later.
    The standard title for this image is 'Newburgh, New York' but occasionally, as in the present lot, Frank has titled the print 'Fish Kill' or 'Fishkill' which is on the other side of the Hudson River from Newburgh.

    Oversized prints such as the present lot are very rare.

    Pre-Lot Text



    Evergreen Review, vol. 1, no. 4, 1957, front cover; 'Robert Frank,' U.S. Camera 1958, U.S. Camera, 1957, p. 114; 'A Pageant Portfolio: One Man's U.S.A.' Pageant, vol. 13, no. 10, April 1958, p. 29; Frank, Les Américains, Delpire, 1958, [pl. 40], p. 85; Frank, The Americans, Grove Press, 1959, [pl. 40], n.p., and in all subsequent editions; Greenough, ed., Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans, The National Gallery of Art Steidl, 2009, p. 259