Back to List

Robert Frank: The Americans (First American Edition, Grove Press, 1959) [SIGNED]

Publisher: New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1959
Edition: 1st Edition
Binding: Hardcover
Condition: Fine / Near Fine
Item #: 113899

Please inquire


CONSIGNMENT: Owner's asking price is net to all; promotional discounts do not apply.

First American edition, first printing. Signed in blue ink on the half-title page by Frank. Hardcover. Black cloth-covered boards with title stamped in gold on the spine; with photographically illustrated dust jacket. Photographs by Robert Frank. Introduction by Jack Kerouac. Unpaginated (180 pp.), with 83 black-and-white gravure plates. 7-1/2 x 8-3/8 inches.

PROVENANCE (signature): full detailed description from the owner, including pictures taken with Frank, available upon request.


Fine in Near Fine dust jacket (three small closed tears at top and bottom edges of dust jacket; complete with no fragments missing; slight soiling and wear at edges and a few small foxing spots to the front, else a bright, tight Fine copy).


[Cited in Andrew Roth, ed., The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century. (New York: PPP Editions in association with Roth Horowitz LLC, 2001), Michel and Michèle Auer, Collection M. + M. Auer - une histoire de la photographie. (Hermance, Switzerland: Éditions M+M, 2003), in Andrew Roth, ed., The Open Book. (Göteborg, Sweden: Hasselblad Center in association with Steidl Verlag, Göttingen, Germany, 2004), and in Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, The Photobook: A History, Volume I. (London and New York: Phaidon, 2004).] From Martin Parr and Gerry Badger: "What has made this arguably the most renowned photobook of all? Firstly and perhaps most importantly, the majority of the pictures are instantly memorable, 'dry, lean, and transparent,' as John Szarkowski has said of them, yet also weighty and profound, even heartstopping...Secondly, there is the sequencing. Four 'chapters', introduced in each case by the Stars-and-Stripes, have an internal logic, complexity and irresistible flow that moves from the relatively upbeat pictures at the beginning to a final image of tenderness and exhaustion on a road that has only one end. Ideas ebb and flow, are introduced, discarded, recapitulated, transfigured, transposed, played off and piled up against each other with the exuberant energy and precise articulation of a Charlie Parker saxophone solo. There are numerous themes, many moods -- sad, happy, bitter, defiant, angry sorrowful -- but only one finale...Jukeboxes like altars, cars like coffins, funerals, road accidents, crosses, flags like shrouds -- there is much determined life in this book, but it has death at its heart. In The Americans Frank has given us a vision of the United States that is as true or untrue as we care to make it. What is certain is that it changed the face of photography in the documentary mode. It struck a chord with a whole generation of American photographers who were not fooled by the sanctimony of 'The Family of Man', and it paved the way for three decades of photographs exploring the personal poetics of lived experience. 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."