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Robert Frank
1924, Zurigo
Bio
Exhibitions

Robert Frank was born in Zurich in 1924 into a Jewish family. On completing high school and having decided to take up photography professionally, he worked as an apprentice for a number of different photographers, whose influence was to confer a strong formal model onto Frank’s training: his research was direct to a pure and and technically flawless photography.
In 1946 he realized his portfolio called “40 Fotos”. The subjects of these images, which range from architecture to industry, from the natural landscape to street scenes, are depicted in a clean-cut style, towards which the photographer was later to develop a certain distaste. His drive towards research
and change, which he felt to have been held back by the conformist nature of the cultural environment in which he lived, led him to Paris, and then on to the United States the following year. After arriving with the idea of having reached “the land of the free,” he was soon to find himself plunged in the 1950s broadly materialistic American culture. This disheartening realization led him to abandon fashion photography. Between 1949 and 1953, his travels around Europe and South America marked his increasing detachment from the New Photography: it was in this era that Frank refined his own personal gaze, capable of looking upon both political events and the everyday happenings of street life in a manner free both of social conventions and of aesthetic dogmatism. His position as an outsider granted him a clear critical gaze on all the faces of Americain the boom years—from Hollywood glamour to the exponential growth of advertising and consumer goods—and at the same time, to expose other underlying tensions: those of black subcultures and communities, of life on the urban outskirts, among the social misfits. A far cry from both the social documentarism and the sentimentalism that dominated certain approaches to photography at the time, Frank’s intense and anti-conformist vision naturally fell in hand in hand with that of the Beat generation, with whom he was to share a part of his journey. His experiences over those years came to a head in the book “The Americans”. The publication—along with the later stylistic evolutions in his photographic work and his various undertakings in the field of film—was to turn Robert Frank into one of the key protagonists in the history of photography, as well as providing an essential reference point for the following generations.

10 years old

2007-2017: a history of the world told through the images of the Fondazione Cassa di risparmio di Modena Collection

March 11 - April 30, 2017

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Flags of America

CIAC, Foligno

19 marzo - 10 luglio 2016

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Flags of America

The major American authors of 1940s/1970s

15th December | 7th April 2013

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Robert Frank

Untitled [“Chautauqua” from Life], 1953
gelatin silver print
24×16,5 cm
© Robert Frank
Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Robert Frank

Sunset Boulevard, 1956-57
silver gelatin print
32,5 x 21,5 cm
© Robert Frank
Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York