Diane Arbus  (American, 1923-1971) 

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Diane Arbus (American, 1923–1971) is one of the most distinguished American photographers of the 20th century, known for her arresting black and white photographs of children, artists, and famous figures, as well as her portraits of those living on the margins of conventional society. Arbus was born in New York, and first ventured into photography with her husband, Allan Arbus (American, 1918–2013), after World War II, gaining considerable success as a pair in the world of fashion photography. Arbus later divorced her husband and continued to work independently, studying with Alexei Brodovitch, the art director of Harper’s Bazaar, and Richard Avedon (America, 1923–2004).

In the early 1960s, Arbus began producing compelling portraits of people on the outskirts of society, including clowns, exotic dancers, circus performers, and transvestites; she received widespread recognition for these works. Arbus also became known for her eerie photographs of children, intimate portraits of famous figures, and urban scenes. Arbus received two Guggenheim Fellowships to support her work in the 1960s, and taught at the Parsons School of Design and at the Rhode Island School of Design.

In 1971, she committed suicide while still definitively at the height of her career. In 1972, the Museum of Modern Art held a retrospective of her work and the Aperture Foundation published an accompanying catalogue; the Aperture monograph has sold more than 12 million copies to date. The year after her death, Arbus was also selected as the first photographer to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale.

Find Diane Arbus artworks for sale worldwide, artworks that sold at auction, a detailed biography, and more information on the artist below.
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Diane Arbus, Two girls in matching bath suits

 

Diane Arbus
Two girls in matching bath suits
1967

Jörg Maass Kunsthandel
Diane Arbus, Christmas Tree in a Living Room in Levittown, LI

 

Diane Arbus
Christmas Tree in a Living Room in Levittown, LI
Hamburg Kennedy Photographs
Diane Arbus, Child with Toy Hand

 

Diane Arbus
Child with Toy Hand
1962

Hamburg Kennedy Photographs
Diane Arbus, A young man and his girlfriend with hot dogs in the park, N.Y.C.

 

Diane Arbus
A young man and his girlfriend with hot dogs in the park, N.Y.C.
1971

Robert Koch Gallery
Diane Arbus, Untitled #21

 

Diane Arbus
Untitled #21
1970-1971

Robert Koch Gallery
Diane Arbus, Girl in shiny dress

 

Diane Arbus
Girl in shiny dress
1967

Jörg Maass Kunsthandel
Diane Arbus, Girl in a Shiny Dress, NYC

 

Diane Arbus
Girl in a Shiny Dress, NYC
1967

J. Johnson Gallery
Diane Arbus, Girl and Governess with baby carriage, NYC

 

Diane Arbus
Girl and Governess with baby carriage, NYC
1962

Laurence Miller Gallery
Diane Arbus, Kid in Black-Face with Friend, N.Y.C

 

Diane Arbus
Kid in Black-Face with Friend, N.Y.C
Fraenkel Gallery
Past auction results (1074)  View All
Diane Arbus, Claes Oldenberg, N.Y.C

 

Diane Arbus
Claes Oldenberg, N.Y.C, 1966
gelatin silver print

 

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Diane Arbus, Boy Reading a Magazine, N.Y.C

 

Diane Arbus
Boy Reading a Magazine, N.Y.C, 1956
gelatin silver print

 

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Diane Arbus, Mae West

 

Diane Arbus
Mae West, 1965
gelatin silver print

 

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1923   Born Diane Nemerov on March 14th, 1923, in New York, NY
1929 - 1937   Attended the Ethical Culture Elementary School
1937 - 1941   Attended the Fieldston High School
1941   Married Allan Arbus
1956   Abandoned fashion photography to pursue her own work
1955 - 1957   Studied photography with Lisette Model, New School for Social Research, New York, NY
1959   Separated from Allan Arbus
1960   Her first published photographs appeared in Esquire
1963   Received her first Guggenheim Fellowship for her project AMERICAN
1963 - 1966   Instructor of Photography, Parson School of Design, New York, NY and Instructor of Photography, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1966   Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship
1968 - 1969   Instructor of Photography, Cooper Union, New York, NY
1970   Recipient: Robert Leavitt Award
1970   Taught at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence
1970 - 1971   Instructor of Photography, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1971   Died on July 26th, 1971, in New York, NY
2013   Dark Blue The Water as Protagonist - Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI
2013   Une Affaire De Famille - La Photographie Dans Les Collections De Stephane, Rodolphe Et Sebastien Janssen - Museé de la photographie de Charleroi, Charleroi
2013   Light Sensitive - Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC
2013   The Time is Now - John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2013   The Unphotographable - Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2012   September 11, P.S.1. MoMa, New York, USA
2012   Diane Arbus, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Germany (solo)
2012   Diane Arbus, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2012   Another story. 1000 Photographs from the Moderna Museet Collection, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
2012   Diane Arbus: Affinities, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2012   Through the Looking Glass, me Collectors Room, Berlin, Germany
2011 - 2012   PHOTOGRAPHY CALLING! Fotografie und Gegenwart, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hannover, Germany
2011   Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
2011   Artists Rooms, Tate Modern, London, GB (solo)
2011   Diane Arbus Retrospective, Jeu de Paume, Paris, France; Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Zurich, Swtizerland; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany; FOAM, Amsterdam, Holland (solo)
2011   Diane Arbus: People and Other Singularities, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, USA (solo)
2011   Diane Arbus, Peder Lund, Oslo, Norway (solo)
2010   75 Years of Looking Forward: Focus on Artists, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
2010   Private Eyes, la Colección de Laurence Miller, Sala Municipal de San Benito, Valladolid, Spain
2010   Picturing New York: Photographs from The Museum of Modern Art, IMMA, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
2010   The Sum of Myself: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art / LACMA, Los Angeles
2010   Masters of Photography, Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Antwerpen, Belgium
2010   Face to Face: 150 Years of Photographic Portraiture, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix and CCP Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, USA
2010   elles@centrepompidou, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
2010   Diane Arbus: Christ in a lobby and Other Unknown or Almost Known Works Selected by Robert Gober, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2010   Diane Arbus: In the Absence of Others,Cheim & Reid, New York, NY (solo)
2009   Diane Arbus, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2009   The White Under The Red, Galerie Metro, Berlin, Germany
2009   Seventies, le choc de la photographie américaine, BNF – Bibliothèque National de France, Paris, France
2009   The Fallen Angels, Watarium Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokio, Japan
2009   1968. Die große Unschuld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany
2009   BIG CITY, Wien Museum, Vienna, Austria
2009   Sander's Children, Danziger Projects, New York
2009   Street & Studio, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
2009   Artist Rooms: Diane Arbus, National Museum, Cardiff, UK (solo)
2009   The Female Gaze: Women Look at Women, Cheim & Read, New York, NY
2009   New at the Morgan: Acquisitions Since 2004, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY
2008 - 2009   Le Choc de la Photographie Americaine, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris, France
2008 - 2009   Diane Arbus: A Printed Retrospective, 1960-1971, Curated by Pierre Leguillon, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, France (solo)
2008   Arbus, Avedon, Sander, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, NY
2008   People, Jim Kempner Fine Art, New York, NY
2008   Times Square, Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, NY
2008   Diane Arbus, Neil Selkirk, Camera Work, Berlin, Germany
2008   Female Trouble, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany
2008   Street & Studio: An Urban History of Photography, Tate Modern, London
2008   New York at Night: Photographs from the Collection, MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art, New York
2007   Diane Arbus - Helen Levitt: A Conversation, Laurence Miller Gallery, New York
2007   NEW YORK, NY, Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Antwerpen, Belgium
2007   Americans, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
2007   June Bride, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, NY
2007   All the More Real, Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY
2007   Second View, Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen, Magdeburg, Germany
2007   Something Was There: Early Work by Diane Arbus, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2007   Diane Arbus, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2007   A Fine Collection, A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans,
LA (solo)
2006   Eye of the Beholder: Photographs from the Collection of Richard Avedon, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, NY; Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006   Recent Acquisitions: New York Street Photography from the 1960s and 1970s, (16 Diane Arbus Coney Island photographs) New York Public Library, New York, NY
2006   Das Achte Feld/The Eight Square, Museum Ludwig Cologne, Germany
2006   The Construction of the Other, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium
2006   Biennale Internazionale di Fotografia di Brescia, Italy
2006   The Street: Pioneers of 20th-Century Photography, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2006   The photographs of Diane Arbus, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Australia (solo)
2003 - 2006   Diane Arbus: Revelations, (200 photographs and supplementary ephemera), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; Fundació la Caixa, Barcelona, Spain; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (solo)
2005   Photographing the Museum, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY
2005   Bilanz in zwei Akten, Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover, Germany
2005   Family Albums, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, USA / Portland Art Museum, Portland, USA(solo)
2005   Set Up: Recent Acquisitions in Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
2005   Reinstallation of The Museum of Modern Art's Collection, MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art, New York
2005   Diane Arbus: Other Faces, Other Rooms, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY
 (solo)
2005   Diane Arbus, Gallery Koyanagi, Portland, OR (solo)
2004 - 2005   Diane Arbus: Family Albums, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, MA; Grey Art Gallery, New York, NY; Portland Art Museum, Portland, ME; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS (solo)
2002 - 2005   Eye to Eye, Groninger Museum, Holland, The Netherlands
2004   Ghost Stories: The Disembodied Spirit, Austin Museum of Art, Austin, TX
2004   Menschenbilder, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany
2004   Photographers of Genius, Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
2004   Family Albums, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, USA / Grey Art Gallery, New York University (solo)
2004   Female Identities? Künstlerinnen der Sammlung Goetz, Weserburg I Museum für Moderne Kunst, Bremen, Germany
2004   Photography Until Now; Museum of Modern Art, New York (auch im Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio)
2004   On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Photography; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. und Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (auch im Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
2003 - 2004   Cruel and Tender, Tate Modern, London; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
2003 - 2004   A Clear Vision, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany
2003   Gogh Modern, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2003   Pictures from Within, Whitney Museum, New York, NY
2003   Flesh Tones, Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY
2003   Diane Arbus, De Hallen, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, Niederlande 1972 (solo)
2002   American Standard: (Para) Normality and Everyday Life, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY
2001 - 2002   J. Johnson Gallery, Jacksonville, FL
2001   Voice, Image, Gesture: Selections from The Jewish Museum’s Collection, 1945 – 2000, The Jewish Museum, New York, NY
2001   Homage to the Square: Picturing Washington Square, 1890-1865, Berry-Hill Galleries, Inc., New York, NY
2001   Diane Arbus: A Box of Ten Photographs, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2000 - 2001   Diane Arbus: Untitled 1969-1971, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2000   Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
1997   Diane Arbus: Women, Galleria Photology, Milan, Italy (solo)
1996 - 1997   Diane Arbus: Women, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1996   Untitled: Diane Arbus, Pace Wildenstein, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
1995   The Movies: Photographs from 1956 to 1958, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1992   Diane Arbus: Untitled 1970-71, Jan Kesner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
1991   Diane Arbus: Photographs, Edwynn Houk Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
1991   Diane Arbus: Untitled 1970-71, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1977   Mirrors and Windows: American Photography since 1960; Museum of Modern Art; New York
1972   Retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, New York (solo)
1971   Contemporary Photographs I; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1971   Venice Biennale, Italy
1969   Thirteen Photographers; Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
1969   Human Concern/Personal Torment: The Grotesque in American Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
1969   New Photography U.S.A., Museum of Modern Art, New York
1969   10 Photographers; U.S. Pavilion, Japan World Exhibition, Osaka, Japan
1967   New Documents: Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand; Museum of Modern Art; New York
1965   Recent Acquisitions: Photography; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; School of Fine Arts, University of Wisconsin
1965   Invitational Exhibition: 10 American Photographers Milwaukee
1955   The Family of Man (with Allan Arbus), Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
  FAIF Collection, Zurich, Switzerland
  Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
  Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany
  Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence
  Sweet Briar College Art Gallery
  The Progressive Art Collection, Mayfield Village
  Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada
  Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown
  Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, Toronto, Canada
  Yokohama Museum of Art
  John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota
  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA
  Milwaukee Art Museum, USA
  Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden
  Moderna Museet Stockholm, Sweden
  Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA
  Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg / Florida, Russia / USA
  National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, USA
  National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
  New Orleans Museum of Art, USA
  Akron Art Museum
  BA-CA Kunstforum, Vienna, Austria
  Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham / Alabama, UK / USA
  Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, USA
  Cleveland Museum of Art, USA
  Davison Art Center, Middletown
  Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Poughkeepsie
  Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge / MA, USA
  International Center of Photography, New York, USA
  IVAM Valencia, Spain
2012    Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph: Fortieth-Anniversary Edition by Marvin Israel, Doon Arbus and Diane Arbus
2011    Diane Arbus – Untitled, Ausst.Kat., Schirmer Mosel: München, 2011
2011    Photography calling!, Ausst.Kat., Steidl: Göttingen, 2011
2005    Diane Arbus: The Libraries, 2005 (ed. by Doon Arbus)
2003    Diane Arbus: Familiy Album, 2003
2003    Arbus, Diane. Revelations. New York: Random House and Toronto: Random House of Canada Limited
1995    Arbus and Yolanda Cuomo, Eds. Untitled. New York: Aperture
1984    Arbus, Diane. and Thomas W. Southall. Diane Arbus Magazine Work. Eds. Doon Arbus and Marvin Israel. Millerton. NY: Aperture
1972    Arbus, Diane. Diane Arbus. Eds. Doon Arbus and Marvin Israel