• Photographs auction at Christies

    Sale 2206


    8 October 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 747

    ROBERT FRANK (B. 1924)

    Mary and Pablo, N.Y.C., 1951 and 1954

    Price Realised  


    ROBERT FRANK (B. 1924)
    Mary and Pablo, N.Y.C., 1951 and 1954
    gelatin silver print, printed c. 1971
    signed, titled and dated in ink (on the recto)
    13½ x 15 1/8in. (34.3 x 38.4 cm.)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    The upper part of the image of Frank's wife Mary and their first
    child Pablo from 1951 fit the style and mood of post-war humanistic
    photography. His direct and simple treatment of this eternal theme,
    using a small-format camera and available light, made it at once
    contemporary and timeless. It was first published as a prize-winning
    photograph in Life magazine in 1951 and has been included in
    every major exhibition and publication of Frank's work from that time
    until the present, including his retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1962 when he virtually abandoned still photography. After a decade of devoting his creative energies to filmmaking, Frank was invited in 1971 by Japanese publisher Kazuhiko Motomura to reflect on his life's work and compile a retrospective book that became The Lines of My Hand. The present lot, a combination print including three frames of a portrait of Mary and Pablo from 1954, was published in that book in 1972. This rare print was made about that time.


    Frank, The Lines of My Hand, Yugensha, 1972, pp. 21-22; Frank, The Lines of My Hand, Lustrum Press, n.p.
    For versions of the earlier image only see:
    'Life Announces the Winners of the Young Photographers Contest,' Life, November 26, 1951, p. 21; Frank, Black, White and Things, [Self-published], 1952, pl. 13; Steichen, 'Post-War European Photography,' U.S. Camera 1954, U.S. Camera, 1953, pp. 24-25; Schuh, 'Exhibition "Photography as a Means of Expression",' Camera, vol. 34, no. 3, March 1955, p. 108; Rotzler, 'Robert Frank,' Du, vol. 22, no. 1, January 1962, p. 6; Frank, The Lines of My Hand, Parkett Der Alltag, 1989, n.p.; Frank, Black, White and Things, The National Gallery of Art Scalo, 1994, pl. 13; Greenough and Brookman, eds., Robert Frank: Moving Out, The National Gallery of Art, p. 55; Greenough, ed., Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans, The National Gallery of Art, 2009, cat. no. 38, p. 95