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  • "Some people hate a certain kind of complexity. Others only want that complexity. But none of that is really intentional. I mean it comes from your nature, your identity. We’ve all got an identity. It’s what’s left when you take everything else away." —Diane ArbusTaken the same year that she was awarded the first of two Guggenheim Fellowships, Peaches Palmer, Stripper in Dressing Room. Atlantic City, N.J., 1963 is from a small group of images Arbus took of performers backstage in Atlantic City in 1962 and 1963. The hard and uniform edges of the image indicate its early printing as it pre-dates her use of a filed-out negative carrier which yielded the softer edges of her later prints.

     

    Replete with visual complexity—from the cluttered tabletop to the layers of costumes behind her—this intimate portrait highlights the patience that was often required of Arbus to seamlessly enter her subjects’ worlds. Writing of another backstage portrait, ‘I remember once I went to this female impersonator show and I waited about four hours backstage and then I couldn’t photograph and they told me to come back another night. But somehow I learned to like that experience because, while being bored I was also entranced...i had a sense of what there was to photograph that I couldn’t actually photograph which I think is quite enjoyable sometimes.’ This image is as much about all that lies outside of it—the stage, the audience, the performance itself—as it is about Peaches and her identity when all of that is taken away.

     

    Another lifetime print of this image is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

    • 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

24

Peaches Palmer, Stripper in Dressing Room. Atlantic City, N.J.

1963
Gelatin silver print.
7 1/8 x 6 in. (18.1 x 15.2 cm)
Signed, titled and dated by the photographer in ink on the verso; additionally stamped 'A Diane Arbus print,' signed by Doon Arbus, Executor, in ink and estate copyright credit and reproduction limitation stamps on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $37,800

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas

 

Photographs

New York Auction 8 April 2021