In 1955, while working as a special photography editor at Fortune magazine, Walker Evans commissioned Frank to produce a series of photographs for an article on the Pennsylvania Rail Road's elegant afternoon train, The Congressional, which ran express from New York to Washington, D.C. Frank primarily trained his camera on businessmen and politicians drinking in the train's lounge and getting shoeshines. The project marks the start of the artist's two-year journey across the country on a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. The result was the book The Americans (1958-59), a beat-inflected homage to America's unexamined rituals and customs from television and jukeboxes to Cadillac showrooms, river baptisms, and barber shops. Here, the subject is a rare glimpse of one of the inner sancta of America's power elite.
Inscription: Stamped and inscribed in blue and black ink, and pencil on paper label affixed to mount, verso TLC: "STORY NAME The Congressional Limited // STORY DATE 11/55 // TAKEN FOR FORTUNE BY ROBERT FRANK // FORTUNE PICTURE Not to be used // for advertising or promotion // CAPTION"; "2727"; "USED // NOV 1955 // FORTUNE // p118 [checkmark]"; stamped and inscribed in pencil on paper label affixed to mount, verso TLC: "PF37313 TL // RETURN TO: // TIME, INC: // FILE // PH#761561 // 2000.54"; stamped and inscribed in pencil on paper label affixed to mount, verso TRC: ROBERT FRANK // #8"; inscribed on mount in unknown hand in red wax pencil, verso BC: "p.20 - 1(A)"
Robert Frank; Fortune magazine; [Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 29," May 21, 2001–September 23, 2001.