Lot Details

50.8 x 40.64 centimeters

Diane Arbus (March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer, noted for her portraits of people on the fringes of society, such as transvestites, dwarfs, giants, prostitutes and ordinary working class citizens, in unconventional poses and settings.

Arbus' early work was created using 35mm cameras, but by the 1960s Arbus adopted the Rolleiflex medium format twin-lens reflex. This format provided a square aspect ratio, higher image resolution, and a waist-level viewfinder that allowed Arbus to connect with her subjects in ways that a standard eye-level viewfinder did not. Arbus also experimented with the use of flashes in daylight, allowing her to highlight and separate her subjects from the background.

MoMA curator John Szarkowski prepared to stage a retrospective in 1972, but the accompanying Diane Arbus catalog proposal was turned down by all major publishing houses. Aperture magazine's Michael E. Hoffman accepted the challenge, producing an influential photography book. The Aperture monograph has since been reprinted 12 times, selling more than 100,000 copies. The MoMA retrospective traveled throughout North America attracting more than 7 million viewers. Also in 1972, Arbus became the first American photographer to be represented at the Venice Biennale. Arbus' photograph Identical Twins is tenth on the list of most expensive photographs having sold in 2004 for $478,400.

In 2006, the film Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus was released, starring Nicole Kidman as Arbus. Though it is a highly fictionalized account of a period in her life, it used Patricia Bosworth's book Diane Arbus: A Biography as a source.

Selected bibliography:
Diane Arbus : the libraries / [installation photographs, Megan Lewis ; editor, Mary Bahr]. San Francisco : Fraenkel Gallery, c2004.

Lee, Anthony W., 1960-. Diane Arbus : family albums / Anthony W. Lee and John Pultz. New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, c2003.

Arbus, Diane, 1923-1971. Diane Arbus : revelations. New York : Random House, c2003.

Arbus, Diane, 1923-1971. Diane Arbus. New York: Aperture Foundation 1997

Bosworth, Patricia. Diane Arbus : a biography / Patricia Bosworth. New York : Knopf, 1984.

Arbus, Diane, 1923-1971. Diane Arbus, magazine work / with texts by Diane Arbus ; essay by Thomas W. Southall ; edited by Doon Arbus and Marvin Israel. Millerton, N.Y. : Aperture, c1984.

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  • Ships From: New York, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.64 cm.)
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