Important Photographs from a Private American Collection

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Important Photographs from a Private American Collection
Robert Frank, Trolley - New Orleans, 1955. Esimate: $150,000-250,000. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2007.

NEW YORK.-Christie's New York will hold the Important Photographs from a Private American Collection auction. With an eye toward the extraordinary in the documentary tradition, this collection of mostly fine vintage or early prints was put together with great care and discernment over more than twenty years. Works by Walker Evans and Robert Frank, two of the most important artists of the 20th-century, form two-thirds of this carefully selected collection of predominantly American street photography, and both had a broad influence on generations of artists, photographers, filmmakers and writers.

At the core of the sale are works by Robert Frank - the most significant group of photographs by the artist ever to come to auction. These pictures, the results of cross-country trips in 1955 and 1956 supported by two successive Guggenheim Fellowships were presented in his seminal book The Americans, first published in France in 1958 and in the US the following year. They made an enormous impact on the history of art and culture.

Fourteen images from those travels form part of this collection, including a rare early print of Trolley - New Orleans, a remarkable portrayal of a common scene near the end of 1955 in the Deep South and the front cover of the first American edition of the book (estimate: $150,000-250,000).

Seven of the eight prints by Walker Evans were made discreetly in the New York City subway with a hidden camera around 1938. They were intended for a book that was finally published in 1966 titled, Many Are Called. This group is augmented with two other subway portraits by prominent photographers, Arthur Leipzig and Helen Levitt. Moving out into the bustle of the New York street, the sale also includes a poetic evocation by Lisette Model, Running Legs, New York City.

Other works in the auction include photographs by Diane Arbus, Brassaï, Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn.

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