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An unprecedented exhibition at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center will present Robert Frank’s American photographs from the 1950s as a cohesive whole. Frank, a Swiss-born photographer, is best known for his profoundly influential book “The Americans.” In 1955 and 1956, with support from a Guggenheim Fellowship, Frank traveled throughout the United States photographing ordinary people in their everyday lives. The book, which was published in France in 1959, features 83 photographs, mostly from those travels. Frank explored the various levels of the country’s social strata, both high and low, unveiling a ubiquitous sense of loneliness, alienation, and angst. For the first time ever, the exhibition at the Cantor Arts Center will explore the largely forgotten photographs that pre-dated and followed Frank’s canonical work.

“Robert Frank in America” features 130 photographs drawn primarily from the Cantor’s collection. Donated to the institution in the mid-1980s by Stanford alumnus Bowen H. McCoy and his colleague Raymond B. Gary, the Cantor’s holdings span the full range of Frank’s photographic career before he turned to filmmaking in the early 1960s.

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The Vancouver Art Gallery received a generous donation of photographs including American photographer Robert Frank’s (b. 1924) historic work, Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey (1955) from his landmark series, The Americans. Other new acquisitions include photographs by Greg Girard (b. 1955), Rodney Graham (b. 1949), Aaron Siskind (1903-1991), and over 100 works by Canadian artist Charles Gagnon (1934-2003).

Gagnon, a prominent figure in Quebec’s art world, was a student of the work of Frank. The gift of 111 of his photographs was made possible by Gagnon’s estate. The works join an already substantial collection of the artist’s work at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which includes paintings and works on paper.

Andrew Gruft and Claudia Beck, art patrons who have made a number of generous donations to the Gallery over the years, are responsible for many of the most recent acquisitions including the Frank addition. Gruft and Beck were pivotal in the formation of the Gallery’s collection and helped make the museum one of the most notable institution’s for historical and modern photography.

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