Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Currently exhibiting the work of the Bechers, this is the first room you walk into when entering the Fraenkel Gallery.

One of the most impressive photography sites in San Francisco is the Fraenkel Gallery at 49 Geary Street. Now celebrating their 30th Anniversary, the gallery pretty much sets the bar on how to do things with the utmost refinement, quality, and care - as you will see from all these pictures. I'm not sure that the early masters of photography could have even envisioned something like this - multiple galleries and private showrooms, busy staff, a level of finish you would expect to see only when looking at old master paintings. But Fraenkel have not only grown but thrived - and the secret of their success, I believe, is a passion for the work they show and the environment they create for it. Whether in their gallery, or in the cards and catalogs they print, or when they do an art fair there is a level of perfectionism that puts them in a league of their own. Follow me ...

A second gallery leads to yet another room.

In every room, the sight lines into the next room are carefully thought out.

Here, Richard Avedon's portrait of Robert Frank.

In the back office, a wall of invitation posters from previous shows.

Gallery registrar, Claire Cichy at her desk. Note the poster of a great image I had never seen before - Lee Friedlander's "The Topless Bride" from 1967.

A framed group of photo booth portraits taken at the gallery's 25th anniversary party. Click to see how many photo notables you can identify.

A work in progress - a maquette for the gallery's booth at next month's Basel Art Fair.

A Friedlander and an Eggleston in one of the private rooms.

A large Sugimoto movie theater and a smaller Robert Adams.

In the same back room a specially constructed table flips open to present smaller works.

An Adam Fuss and an Idris Khan.

And last but not least, gallery director Frish Brandt, our guide on the tour.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic !

Fredde Ahlstrom said...

Yea! A really fantastic Zen-like layout of the Gallery. To me it looks very Japanese, and using the doors to frame the photos in the next rooms is brilliant.

Will keep these images in the back of my head for the future.


Mandy said...

Lovely. Thanks for bringing us along on the gallery tour!

RubyMel said...

I love the photos of their workspace, very inspiring! I love the stack of books in the corner

indigo16 said...

Although London has some wonderful small galleries that specialise in photography, few have the light and space of this one.
The website is great too.

Jennifer said...

What a great tour! I'm sorry that I didn't make it to the gallery when I was out in SF last month. I'll have to make a point of stopping by when I return later this year.

I love the wall of photobooth portraits! The first strip is Avedon, but although I recognized several other faces in the group, I'm ashamed to say that I can't place names with them.

Jen Bekman said...

It's such an amazing gallery and Frish is just wonderful. They do everything so very well!

Love going there, love (love!) getting their mailers which are always gorgeous, and I'm continually impressed by the incredibly inventive group exhibitions that they put together. LOVE.

Paul Pincus said...

amazing post.

i just fell in love with the adam fuss and the little idris khan.

the wall of invitation posters is fantastic. wow.