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Diane Arbus


Child with toy hand grenade, Central Park, New York City, 1962

Diane Arbus was born in New York City in 1923.
She died in 1971.

Known for:
Known for starkly individualistic photographs of people: children and nudists, transvestites and circus freaks, teenagers in parks and mentally handicapped adults. Also completed a number of photojournalism projects for various magazines (especially Esquire) in the US and UK from the early 1960s until her death.

Most Popular Images:
"Identical twins, New Jersey, 1967"
"Child with toy hand grenade, New York City, 1962"
"Russian Midget Friends, NYC, 1963"
"Untitled (7)"
"Tattooed man at carnival, 1970"
and many others.

Did you know ... ?
• Diane Arbus was taught how to photograph by her husband Allan Arbus. She was also a student of the photographer Lisette Model in the late 1940s and early 1950s. • Her first major magazine assignment ("The Vertical Journey") was published in July 1960 in Esquire magazine, and she frequently wrote the articles which accompanied her photos in publications like Harper's Bazaar and The New York Times Magazine. • Her brother Harold Nemerov is a noted poet.

"For me the subject of a picture is always more important than the picture. And more complicated. I do have a feeling for the print but I don't have a holy feeling for it. I really think what it is, is what it's about. I mean, it has to be of something. And what it's of is always more remarkable than what it is."

"There's a kind of power thing about the camera. I mean, everyone knows you've got some edge. You're carrying some slight magic which does something to them. It fixes them in a way."

"I've never taken a picture I've intended. They're always better or worse."

Norman Mailer on Diane Arbus: "Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child." (1963)

General Format:
Silver gelatin prints, usually square format on 16 x 20 paper (although some 11 x 14 prints exist as well.)

How many photographs exist?
Posthumous prints in editions of 75, printed by Neil Selkirk under the supervision of Doon Arbus

Vintage prints: $10,000 - $100,000
Posthumous prints range from $2,500 - $25,000 depending on availability

Price History:
1975: $500 - $5,000
1985: $1,500 - $15,000
1995: $2,500 - $75,000

View Diane Arbus' Photographs

Technical Information:
After 1962, Arbus' photographs were taken using a Rollieflex twin-lens reflex camera exclusively. Held at waist level, the Rollieflex allowed her to maintain a more natural contact with her subjects and to see what she was photographing in reality, rather than only through the lens.

How are the photographs printed and signed?
Posthumous prints are estate stamped au verso and signed by the printer (Neil Selkirk) and Doon Arbus.

A very limited number of vintage prints exist (and are exteremly rare on the secondary market.) Vintage means that the print date is at or near the same time as the negative date.

Arbus released one portfolio (".Arbus") of ten signed prints in 1969-70; only five sets were purchased during her lifetime.

Books - In Print
Diane Arbus,Hardcover, Sold Out.

A Gallery for Fine Photography has a limited but extremely choice selection of Diane Arbus photographs. Supply is limited due to the popularity of her work, which skyrocketed after her death in 1971 and her posthumous retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art later that year.

House on a Hill, Hollywood, 1963

Authenticity is guaranteed. Prices and availability are subject to change without prior notice.



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