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'Butte, Montana' (View from Hotel Window)

À propos de l'objet

Oversized, signed, titled, and dated '1956' in ink in the margin, numerical notations in pencil on the reverse, framed, Bloom Collection and Pace Wildenstein MacGill labels on the reverse, 1956, probably printed circa 1970\nTraveling alone across the northern states, Robert Frank made this photograph from his hotel room in Butte, Montana. It evokes not only the feeling of loneliness in a place far from home, but also the history of mining towns in the American West.  Positioned in The Americans as a link in the sequence between Hotel Lobby – Miami Beach (Lot 58) and Metropolitan Life Insurance Building – New York City (Lot 45), it portrays an opposing view to that of a bright sunny America found in the pages of contemporary magazines such as LIFE and Look.  Well-known as a rough mining town, Butte saw its population peak in the 1920s.  New in 1955 was the Berkeley Pit, soon to become the largest open-pit mine in the United States.  Frank was drawn to this massive-scale display of American industrial might.  He took a room at the Finlen Hotel, the tallest in Butte.  His window overlooked the gaping mine that swallowed entire neighborhoods on the east side of town.  Frank spent several days there, photographing from this window several times by day and by night, with and without the curtain, framing vertically and horizontally.  He finally settled on this version, made in partial darkness just after a rain shower.\nA few years after this trip, Frank travelled to Florida with Jack Kerouac who attempted to describe how Frank captured such bleak beauty, ‘Contrary to the general belief about photography, you don’t need bright sunlights: the best, moodiest pictures are taken in the dim light of almost dusk, or of rainy days. . .’  (‘On the Road to Florida,’ Evergreen Review, no. 74, January 1970, p. 43).


Robert Frank


This print is impressive for its size and range of gray tones. It is on double-weight Agfa paper with a semi-glossy surface. It is in generally excellent condition. In raking light, a small, sharp crease that does not appear to break the emulsion is visible in the lower central portion of the print near the edge of the image. The margin corners are slightly bumped On the reverse, pencil notations 'R.F.A. 0I.026,' and 'RF.A.015.3 [marked out]' are written in an unidentified hand. There is an 'X' in ink in the lower left corner. It is believed that only 7, or possibly 8, other prints of this image have previously been offered at auction. Only one of those has been in this large size. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.


12 3/4  by 19 1/8  in. (32.4 by 48.6 cm.)


The Americans, no. 26 Sarah Greenough, Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans, pp. 240 and 468, and Contact no. 26 Robert Frank, The Lines of My Hand (Yugensha), p. 83 U. S. Camera/Camera 35 Annual: America, Photographic Statements (1972), p. 136 Robert Frank (Aperture), p. 29 Tod Papageorge, Walker Evans and Robert Frank: An Essay on Influence, p. 13 Mike Weaver, ed., The Art of Photography, 1839-1989, pl. 326 Sarah Greenough and Philip Brookman, Robert Frank: Moving Out, p. 188 Keith Davis, An American Century of Photography, from Dry-Plate to Digital: The Hallmark Photographic Collection, pl. 301 George Webber, 'Robert Frank's Window,' Doubletake, Fall 2001, pp. 114-15 Robert Frank: Story Lines, frontispiece 4 Peter Galassi, Robert Frank: In America, p. 84 David Campany, The Open Road: Photography & The American Road Trip, p. 48


Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, 1997


B. 1924

*Merci de noter que le prix n'est pas recalculé à la valeur actuelle, mais se rapporte au prix final réel au moment où l'objet a été vendu.

*Merci de noter que le prix n'est pas recalculé à la valeur actuelle, mais se rapporte au prix final réel au moment où l'objet a été vendu.