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Robert Frank (b. 1924)
Wanamaker Fire, NYC, 1956
gelatin silver print
signed and titled in ink (in the margin); credit and date in unknown hand in ink, copyright limitation and 'Robert Frank Archive' stamps (on the verso)
8½ x 12 7/8in. (21.6 x 32.8 cm.)
Tucker and Brookman, eds., Robert Frank: New York to Nova Scotia, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1986, p. 35

Lot Essay

Frank turned his back on the spectacle of the burning Wanamaker department store building to capture the universal expressions of curiosity, horror and resignation in the faces of the onlookers. Until the World Trade Center in 2001, this five-alarm fire was one of the greatest disasters in New York City history. The building burned to the ground over two hot days in July 1956. Fearing collapse, subway service was halted on the IRT line. Built in 1862 as the Alexander T. Stewart emporium, the building covered an entire city block. It was later acquired by Wanamaker and attached to the larger main building above street level by the 'Bridge of Progress.'

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