“Walker Evans and Robert Frank: An Essay on Influence” is the subject of the photographs on view at Fraenkel Gallery, 55 Grant Avenue, from June 17 through July 25, 1981. The exhibition was curated by Tod Papageorge, Walker Evans Professor of Photography at Yale, and was seen there earlier this year.
Although the fact of Frank’s debt to Evans has often been acknowledged by the younger photographer, its extent and depth have never been understood. This is the first exhibition to explore seriously the shape and specifics of this influence. It does so by comparing images from each photographer’s most important work, Walker Evans’ American Photographs, published in 1938, and Robert Frank’s The Americans, published in 1959. In the catalogue which accompanies the exhibition, however, Papageorge concentrates not so much on the obvious relationship of subject matter and composition, as on Frank’s transformation of Evans’ vision. The catalogue reproduces in full page duotones the paired comparisons which form the thesis of the book and the exhibition.
“Walker Evans and Robert Frank: An Essay” on Influence is to be followed in July by “Robert Frank Forward” an exhibition tracing the contribution of Robert Frank through the work of eight modern photographers.