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The Robert Frank Collection

Provenance

The Robert Frank Collection at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, was begun in 1990 with a generous gift from the artist that included 27 vintage photographs, one of the three extant copies of Black White and Things, 1952 (a handmade book of 34 original photographs made between 1948 and 1952), 999 work prints, 2,296 contact sheets, and 2,241 rolls of film, as well as annotated book dummies for The Lines of My Hand. In the three years that followed, the Gallery acquired a total of 61 objects, including one print of every photograph reproduced in The Lines of My Hand, 1989. In 1994 Frank gave the Gallery another large donation that included 91 vintage photographs, 442 work prints, and 814 contact sheets. In 1996 he gave a third gift, this time including 12 photographs and his volume of photographs, Peru. Then in 2010 Frank gave one photograph and his volume of photographs, 40 Fotos. Most recently, Frank gave four photographs, six contact sheets, one work print, and three videos in 2012. The Gallery has continued to collect works by Robert Frank, acquiring 61 objects from 1994 to 1996, seven objects in 2000 and 2001, three objects in 2006, 20 objects in 2010, and one object in 2011.

Nearly all accessioned objects in the collection came to the Gallery directly from Frank's own collection. The exceptions are: four objects given in 1991 by, respectively, Amy and Philip Brookman, George F. Hemphill and Leonore A. Winters, Christopher and Alexandra Middendorf, and the Middendorf Gallery; 16 objects given in 1996 by John Cohen; six objects given in 2000 by Jane Watkins; one object given in 2001 by Lee and Maria Friedlander; and 20 objects given in 2010 by the Estate of Kazuko Oshima.