40 Years

For Fraenkel Gallery’s 40th Anniversary, we’re celebrating with a retrospective look at some of the people, occasions, and works of art that have made up the gallery’s first four decades. Thank you for being a part of our memorable journey thus far, including more than 350 exhibitions, 80 art fairs, and 66 books spanning photography’s beginnings to multidisciplinary work of the present day.

First Decade 1979–1989

Fraenkel Gallery opened in 1979 at 55 Grant Avenue in San Francisco, and immediately brought new attention to under-recognized and seldom-exhibited photographs by 19th-century artists Carleton Watkins, Timothy O’Sullivan, Anna Atkins, and Eadweard Muybridge and significant 20th-century artists, including Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus, Robert Adams, Garry Winogrand, and Bruce Conner. In these early years, the gallery also began its publishing program of books and posters.

Carleton Watkins exhibition, 1979
Fraenkel Gallery opened in 1979 with Carleton Watkins: Photographs of the Pacific Coast
Fraenkel Gallery’s original location at 55 Grant Avenue, San Francisco
Inside our 55 Grant Avenue office

The gallery is a place that is separate and apart from one’s daily grind, with objects that will slow you down and engage your brain. Jeffrey Fraenkel

Jeffrey Watkins with Carleton Watkins's 1867 photograph Cape Horn, Columbia River, Oregon
Jeffrey Fraenkel next to Carleton Watkins’s 1867 photograph Cape Horn, Columbia River, Oregon
Announcement for our second exhibition, Lee Friedlander, 1979
Announcement for our second exhibition, Lee Friedlander, 1979
Poster for Diane Arbus: Unpublished Photographs, 1980
Poster for our first Diane Arbus exhibition, Unpublished Photographs, 1980
Garry Winogrand in our 1980 exhibition, Retrospective
Garry Winogrand (center left) in the gallery for our 1980 exhibition Retrospective
Jeffrey Fraenkel and Frish Brandt when Frish joined the gallery in 1984
Frish Brandt joins Fraenkel Gallery in 1984
Jeffrey Fraenkel and Harry Callahan in 1986
Jeffrey Fraenkel and Harry Callahan in our exhibition Several Exceptionally Good Recently Acquired Pictures I, 1986

A favorite Fraenkel Gallery memory for me is of Jeffrey showing me on-screen theater photographs of the movie “Baby Doll” by Diane Arbus—who was a tremendous influence on me through my entire career. That stands out the most, even before getting to know the gallery as well as I do now. John Waters

Diane Arbus, Nineteen Faces, installation view
Installation view of Diane Arbus, Nineteen Faces, 1989
Planning the gallery's expansion at 55 Grant Street
Planning our expansion at 55 Grant Avenue
Jeffrey Fraenkel and Frish Brandt opening the new floor of the 55 Grant Street space, 1989
Jeffrey Fraenkel and Frish Brandt opening the new floor of the 55 Grant Avenue space, 1989

Second Decade 1990–1999

In the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, in 1991 Fraenkel Gallery moved to a larger space at 49 Geary Street, one short block from our first location. The gallery expanded the range of artworks and media featured in our exhibitions and books, including solo shows of artists such as Nan Goldin, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Sophie Calle, Richard Avedon, Sol LeWitt, Gilbert & George, Jay DeFeo, and Bernd and Hilla Becher, as well as group shows encompassing sculpture, drawing, and mixed media.

Construction begins at Fraenkel Gallery's 49 Geary Street location, 1991
Construction begins at our 49 Geary Street location, 1991
49 Geary Street offices before construction
View of our 49 Geary Street offices, library, and gallery spaces before construction began
Jeffrey Fraenkel standing in our new gallery
Jeffrey Fraenkel standing in our new gallery, designed by architect David Robinson
Amy Whiteside installing books in the library
Amy Whiteside installing books in our new library

For me, the gallery is very much a crossroads of ideas, of artists, of books, of people who come in with varying experiences. Frish Brandt

Frish Brandt and Jeffrey Fraenkel at an early art fair
Frish Brandt and Jeffrey Fraenkel at an early art fair
Nan Goldin's 1994 exhibition
Nan Goldin’s first exhibition at the gallery, 1994
Installation view of Several Exceptionally Good Recently Acquired Pictures VIII (1994)
Installation view of Several Exceptionally Good Recently Acquired Pictures VIII, 1994
The gallery's 15th anniversary publication, Seeing Things, 1995
The gallery’s 15th anniversary publication, Seeing Things, 1995
Poster for Seeing Things, 1995
Poster for Seeing Things, 1995
Frish Brandt sets up at the Chicago Art Fair
Frish Brandt sets up at the Chicago Art Fair
Gallery talk with Thomas Ruff for his exhibition Portraits Houses Stars Night
Gallery talk with Thomas Ruff for his exhibition Portraits Houses Stars Night, 1996
Frish Brandt and Richard Misrach

It’s been a phenomenal ride with the gallery. Every show has been brilliant, stimulating, exciting and challenging. The publications, every show is hung so beautifully, the announcements—I still have them all, I just love them (no other galleries were doing that at the time). The detail that you put into shows is just unlike any other gallery out there. Richard Misrach

Jeffrey Fraenkel, Frish Brandt, and Albert Fraenkel
Jeffrey Fraenkel, Frish Brandt, and Albert Fraenkel
Gallery lunch for Richard Avedon: Early Portraits
Gallery lunch for Richard Avedon: Early Portraits, with Avedon (seated, center), 1999
Jeffrey Peabody, Jeffrey Fraenkel, and Nan Goldin, 1999
Jeffrey Peabody, Jeffrey Fraenkel, and Nan Goldin, 1999
Robert Adams, Kerstin Adams, Frish Brandt and Jeffrey Fraenkel
Robert Adams, Kerstin Adams, Frish Brandt, and Jeffrey Fraenkel
Jeffrey Fraenkel and Frish Brandt on the occasion of our 20th anniversary, 1999
Jeffrey Fraenkel and Frish Brandt on the occasion of our 20th anniversary, 1999
The gallery’s twentieth anniversary publication, 20Twenty
The gallery’s 20th anniversary publication, 20Twenty, 1999

Third Decade 2000–2009

In the 2000s, Fraenkel Gallery began to feature even more artists whose work is not strictly—or not at all—photographic. The gallery’s ambitious exhibitions during this decade included Edward Hopper & Company, Nothing and Everything: Painting, Photography, Drawing & Sculpture 1896–2006, Christ in a lobby and Other Unknown or Almost Known Works by Diane Arbus (curated by Robert Gober), Not Exactly Photographs, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard: The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater.

The gallery also added Katy Grannan, Peter Hujar, Christian Marclay, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard to our roster, increased publishing to at least one new title each year, and expanded our international footprint to encompass Art Basel and Paris Photo.

Sol LeWitt: Recent Wall Drawings, 2000
Jeffrey Fraenkel in the gallery’s exhibition Sol LeWitt: Recent Wall Drawings, 2000
Matthew Yeager and Ken Clanton joined the gallery's staff in 2000
Matthew Yeager and Ken Clanton joined the gallery’s staff in 2000
Richard Avedon reviewing proofs for the 2001 book and exhibition Made in France
Richard Avedon reviewing proofs for the 2001 book and exhibition Made in France
Poster for Ralph Eugene Meatyard: The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater, 2002
Poster for Ralph Eugene Meatyard: The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater, 2002
Lee Friedlander, Frish Brandt and Jeffrey Fraenkel at an art fair, New York, 2002
Lee Friedlander, Frish Brandt and Jeffrey Fraenkel at an art fair, New York, 2002

Forty years ago, Jeffrey called me and said, “I’m starting a gallery. I’d like you to be part of it, and I’ll buy five prints.” Well nobody was buying five prints in those days, and he did that. Lee Friedlander

The Eye Club, 25th anniversary publication, 2003
The Eye Club, the gallery’s 25th anniversary publication, 2003
Photobooth portraits from our 25th anniversary celebration, 2003
Photobooth portraits from our 25th anniversary celebration, 2003
Letter from Maria Friedlander about Lee Friedlander and Richard Avedon's photoshoot, 2003
Letter from Maria Friedlander about Lee Friedlander and Richard Avedon’s photoshoot, 2003
Ileana Sonnabend and Hilla Becher visit the Bechers' exhibition at the gallery in 2003.
Ileana Sonnabend and Hilla Becher visit the Bechers’ exhibition at the gallery in 2003
Sol LeWitt: New Wall Drawings and Photographs, 2004
Sol LeWitt: New Wall Drawings and Photographs, 2004
Ken Clanton, Frish Brandt, and Jeffrey Fraenkel
Ken Clanton, Frish Brandt, and Jeffrey Fraenkel
Richard Misrach shooting his Golden Gate Bridge series
Richard Misrach gives staff a demonstration of shooting his Golden Gate Bridge series
Garry Winogrand poster for SEGRAP XIX, 2007
Poster for Several Exceptionally Good Recently Acquired Pictures XIX, 2007 (Garry Winogrand, Peace Demonstration, Central Park, New York, 1970)
Installation view Lee Friedlander: America by Car, 2008
Lee Friedlander: America by Car, 2008
Bebe Nixon, Cara Megan Lewis, Lee Friedlander, Maria Friedlander and Matthew Yeager at gallery lunch
Bebe Nixon, Cara Megan Lewis, Lee Friedlander, Maria Friedlander, and Matthew Yeager at gallery lunch

This is a big part of why we have the gallery; we are so fortunate to have the people who work here. This is a picture of a picnic we had for an anniversary. This is the fabric of the gallery, these opportunities to share time and space with these people who make these pictures and ask these questions. This was a rare, rare opportunity. That’s why we do it; that’s why I do it. Frish Brandt

Furthermore, the gallery's 30th anniversary publication, 2009
Furthermore, the gallery’s 30th anniversary publication, 2009
Installation view of Hiroshi Sugimoto: Lightning Fields, 2009
Hiroshi Sugimoto: Lightning Fields, the artist’s ninth exhibition with the gallery, 2009

Fourth Decade 2010–2019

In the 2010s, Fraenkel Gallery has exhibited a wider swath of multi-disciplinary work, as well as video, sculpture, paintings, film posters, and record albums. The gallery’s roster expanded to include younger artists—Alec Soth, Richard T. Walker, Wardell Milan, Elisheva Biernoff, and Richard Learoyd—as well as those working in a range of media, such as Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller and Mel Bochner. The satellite space FraenkelLAB ran from 2016 through 2017 with a diverse and experimental program. Following the expansion of SFMOMA in 2016, San Francisco became even more firmly established as an international destination for photography and contemporary art.

Preparing for Richard Learoyd, Presences, 2011
Preparing for Richard Learoyd: Presences, the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery, 2011
Jeffrey Fraenkel, book designer Katy Homans, and Frish Brandt with The Plot Thickens, 2014
Jeffrey Fraenkel, book designer Katy Homans, and Frish Brandt with The Plot Thickens, 2014
The Plot Thickens, 35th anniversary publication, 2014
The Plot Thickens, 35th anniversary publication, 2014

The phrase that comes to mind when I think of Fraenkel Gallery is ‘best in class.’ Andy Pilara

Jeffrey Fraenkel receives a surprise Facetime call from Lee Friedlander
To celebrate our exhibition Love & Lust, Nan Goldin and The New Yorker photography critic, Vince Aletti, sat down with Jeffrey Fraenkel to reflect on Peter Hujar’s life and career in photography, 2014
Ken Clanton and Amy Whiteside with Mel Bochner’s Color Crumple (#1) at Art Basel 2014
Staff Bowling Party with guests Lee and Maria Friedlander and Katy Homans, 2015
Staff Bowling Party with guests Lee Friedlander, Katy Homans, and Maria Friedlander, 2015
Staff sing-a-long on the occasion of Alec Soth's Songbook, 2015
Staff sing-a-long on the occasion of the publication of Alec Soth’s Songbook, 2015

As a youngster coming up as a photographer, I was intimidated by a lot of galleries—and still am to this day—but I developed a relationship with Frish and felt welcomed into this space. Alec Soth

Sophie Calle's second exhibition at the gallery, 2015
Sophie Calle’s second exhibition at the gallery, 2015
Christian Marclay installs Six New Animations at the gallery, 2016
Christian Marclay (pictured right) prepares his third exhibition at the gallery, Six New Animations, 2016

Richard Learoyd in conversation with Frish Brandt, Photo London 2016
Installation view of Home Improvements, curated by John Waters, 2016
Installation view of Home Improvements: Curated by John Waters at FraenkelLAB, 2016
Installation view of How I Learned to See: An (Ongoing) Education in Pictures, Curated by Hanya Yanagihara, 2016
Installation view of How I Learned to See: An (Ongoing) Education in Pictures, Curated by Hanya Yanagihara, 2016

When I think of Fraenkel Gallery, I think of how I received an education in not just photography, but in looking. The gallery—its shows, its artists, its staff, its Fraenkel—have transformed the way I see. They’ve taught me that a good artist is not necessarily someone who records the extraordinary, but who forces us to reconsider the ordinary. Hanya Yanagihara

Jason Fulford: High Anxiety at FraenkelLAB, 2017
Jason Fulford: High Anxiety at FraenkelLAB, 2017
Jeffrey Fraenkel, Sophie Calle, and Frish Brandt
Jeffrey Fraenkel, Sophie Calle, and Frish Brandt
Katy Grannan and Ola Dlugosz at the gallery's holiday party
Katy Grannan and Ola Dlugosz at the gallery’s holiday party
Alec Soth speaking at FraenkeLAB during his Seesaw exhibition, 2017
Alec Soth speaking at FraenkelLAB during his Seesaw exhibition, 2017
Installation view of Elisheva Biernoff: Paintings, 2017
Elisheva Biernoff: Paintings, the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, 2017

Fraenkel Gallery to me is: a bastion, an inner sanctum, protectors of art, shepherds, magicians… Elisheva Biernoff

Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller discuss their work, The Poetry Machine, 2017
Installation view of collaboration with Adrian Rosenfeld Gallery, Each with the Other, 2018.
The gallery’s collaboration with Adrian Rosenfeld Gallery, Each with the Other, 2018-2019. Photo credit: Aaron Wojack

Fifth Decade 2019–Onward

On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, Fraenkel Gallery has rededicated itself to presenting work in a wide variety of contemporary media–not at all limited to photo-based work–while maintaining photography as a through-line for its exhibitions and publications.

Wardell Milan and Frish Brandt on the occasion of Milan's first exhibition at the gallery, Parisian Landscapes: Blue in Green, 2019
Wardell Milan and Frish Brandt on the occasion of Milan’s first exhibition at the gallery, Parisian Landscapes: Blue in Green, 2019
Fries with that...? exhibition at Cushion Works, San Francisco, 2019
Installation view of Fries with that…? curated by Jeffrey Fraenkel at Jordan Stein’s Cushion Works gallery, 2019
Ola Dlugosz, Diane Meatyard, Christopher Meatyard, and Frish Brandt
Alexander Goodwin with Fraenkel Gallery publications at San Francisco Art Book Fair, 2019
Alexander Goodwin with Fraenkel Gallery publications at San Francisco Art Book Fair, 2019
Richard T. Walker’s outside repetition, 2018, on view during Walker’s first solo show at Fraenkel Gallery, 2019
Daphne Palmer discusses Adam Fuss's work with young visitors to the FOG Design+Art Fair, 2019
Daphne Palmer discusses Adam Fuss’s work with young visitors to the FOG Design+Art Fair 2019
Fraenkel Gallery at the Grand Palais during Paris Photo, one of our favorite stops on the annual agenda
Frish Brandt introducing Richard Misrach for his gallery talk about the exhibition he curated, Another West, 2019
Frish Brandt introduces Richard Misrach for his walkthrough of the exhibition he curated, Another West, 2019
Staff celebrate the gallery's 40th anniversary with a kayaking trip, 2019
Staff celebrate the gallery’s 40th anniversary with a kayaking trip, 2019
Long Story Short, 40th anniversary publication, 2019
Long Story Short, 40th anniversary publication, 2019
Sophie Calle's new work will be featured in the 2020 exhibition, Parce que (Because).
Sophie Calle’s new work will be featured in the gallery’s 2020 exhibition Parce que (Because)
Jeffrey Fraenkel, Alan Mark, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Atsuko Koyanagi at Sugimoto's Enoura Observatory, Odawara Art Foundation, Japan
Jeffrey Fraenkel, Alan Mark, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Atsuko Koyanagi at Sugimoto’s Enoura Observatory, Odawara Art Foundation, Japan
Hiroshi Sugimoto, Opticks
Hiroshi Sugimoto’s new Opticks series is the subject of a Spring 2020 exhibition at the gallery
Fraenkel Gallery at 49 Geary Street, 2019

We are here because we believe that real-life encounters with arteven when mysterious or provocative in ways beyond understandingcan affect us deeply. Our collective, ongoing conversation only has meaning through the involvement of colleagues, visitors, and followers far and wide who understand art’s importance. Jeffrey & Frish