Diane Arbus - Photographs New York Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Aperture, Diane Arbus, n.p..
    Arbus, Sussman, Phillips, Selkirk and Rosenheim, Diane Arbus: Revelations, p. 85

  • Catalogue Essay

    From the start of his three-decade tenure as director of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art in 1962, John Szarkowski mounted exhibitions whose legacy has shaped the field. One such exhibition was New Documents in 1967, for which the current lot was a highlighted image. Of the three photographers whose work was lauded by the exhibition, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander and Diane Arbus, Szarkowski wrote “In the past decade this new generation of photographers has redirected the technique and aesthetic of documentary photography to more personal ends. Their aim has been not to reform life but to know it, not to persuade but to understand.”
    Diane Arbus’s interest in individuals with a distinct genetic makeup— from giants to midgets and as seen in this lot, triplets—was in synchrony with her attraction to social oddities and other marginalized characters. As a former student of Lisette Model in New York, herself renowned for her capturing of New York characters, Arbus drew further inspiration from the work of New Objectivity photographer August Sander, with his frontal, candid images. In Triplets in their bedroom, N.J., Arbus produced an image that, as Szarkowski asserted, objectively and candidly portrays the subjects simply as they were, in the comfort of their own home.

  • Artist Biography

    Diane Arbus

    American • 1923 - 1971

    Transgressing traditional boundaries, Diane Arbus is known for her highly desirable, groundbreaking portraiture taken primarily in the American Northeast during the late 1950s and 1960s. Famous for establishing strong personal relationships with her subjects, Arbus' evocative images capture them in varied levels of intimacy. Whether in their living rooms or on the street, their surreal beauty transcends the common distance found in documentary photography.

    Taken as a whole, Arbus' oeuvre presents the great diversity of American society — nudists, twins, babies, beauty queens and giants — while each distinct image brings the viewer into contact with an exceptional individual brought to light through Arbus' undeniable genius. 

    View More Works


Triplets in their bedroom, N.J.

Gelatin silver print, printed later by Neil Selkirk.
14 3/4 x 14 3/4 in. (37.5 x 37.5 cm)
Stamped 'A Diane Arbus photograph', signed, titled, dated, numbered 40/75 in ink by Doon Arbus, Executor, in ink, copyright credit and reproduction limitation stamps on the verso.

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $37,500

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs
[email protected]
+ 1 212 940 1245


4 April 2012
New York