“THE MOST RENOWNED PHOTOBOOK OF ALL”: SCARCE FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF FRANK’S AMERICANS, WITH 83 FULL-PAGE PHOTOGRAVURES OF POSTWAR AMERICA
FRANK, Robert. The Americans. Introduction by Jack Kerouac. New York: Grove, (1959). Oblong octavo, original black cloth. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $4500.
First American edition of Robert Frank’s influential masterpiece, with 83 black-and-white full-page photogravures that fundamentally redefined photography, this scarce association copy signed by photographer Margery Lewis Smith, longtime partner of famed photographer W. Eugene Smith.
In his preface to his friend Robert Frank’s magnum opus, Jack Kerouac wrote, “Anybody doesnt like these pitchers dont like potry see? Robert Frank… he sucked a sad poem out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world.” Deemed “one of the great photographers of the last 50 years”—Frank traveled across America from 1955 to 1965, creating images that revolutionized photography with their “irreverence and a dark humor” (New York Times). “‘With these photographs,’ he later wrote, ‘I have attempted to show a cross-section of the American population. My effort was to express it simply and without confusion. The view is personal…’ Such a simple intention for a book that would so alter the course of modern photography” (Roth, 150). This scarce first American edition of The Americans, preceded by the 1958 French edition, quickly achieved legendary status as “the most renowned photobook of all… It struck a chord with a whole generation of American photographers… Many memorable photobooks have been derived from this mass of material. None has been more memorable, more influential, nor more fully realized than Frank’s masterpiece” (Parr & Badger I:237). Without extremely scarce dust jacket. Open Book, 176. Signed by photographer Margery Lewis Smith, whose work was featured in Steichen’s landmark 1955 Family of Man exhibit, and who was the longtime partner of influential photographer W. Eugene Smith.
Images fine and bright, lightest rubbing to original cloth. A notable association copy in about-fine condition.