Image: 21.9 x 33.2 cm (8 5/8 x 13 1/16 in.)
Mount: 21.9 x 33.2 cm (8 5/8 x 13 1/16 in.)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gift, 2005
Not on view
In 1955-56 Frank traveled the United States from New York to California, making the photographs that would constitute his landmark book The Americans (1958). The journey would dramatically alter the artist's impression of America. Frank found less of the freedom and tolerance imagined by postwar Europeans, and more alienation and racial prejudice simmering beneath the seemingly happy surface of the Eisenhower era. Not surprisingly, The Americans provoked an outcry of public controversy. Half of the country felt that Frank, a recent émigré, had betrayed his adopted home; half felt his criticism was not only warranted, but necessary. Frank's disillusionment is poignantly embodied in this elegiac view-now Katrina-haunted-of somber passengers riding a streetcar in New Orleans.
Inscription: Signed in ink on mount, verso BR: "Robert Frank - 1955"; inscribed in blue ballpoint pen, verso BL to BC: "THE AMERICANS ROBERT FRANK"; inscribed in pencil, verso TRC: "18"; inscribed in pencil, verso TC: "Robert Frank 'The Americans' 1955–57 // Trolley—New Orleans // Please return to the Museum of Modern Art"
[Marlborough Gallery, New York]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, February 26, 1976
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sight Unseen: Photographs from the Gilman Collection".
Marlborough Gallery. "Appearances," February 12, 1977–March 12, 1977.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans," May 17, 2009–August 23, 2009.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans," September 20, 2009–December 27, 2009.
Frank, Robert. The Americans. 1st Grove Press ed. New York: Grove Press, 1959. p. 45.
Greenough, Sarah. Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans. Expanded ed. Washington, D.C.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009. p. 232.