Diane Arbus - Photographs Evening & Day New York Wednesday, October 5, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Directly from the artist

  • Catalogue Essay

    Comprised of Diane Arbus’ most renowned images, her preeminent A Box of Ten Photographs, is now highly coveted. But when conceived in the early 1970s, Arbus pushed hard to gain substantial interest. Recollecting on this lot, Ruth Ansel notes:

    “It was a known fact that photographers like Diane had a very difficult time making ends meet. Their only possible source of income was to go from magazine to magazine hoping for a significant assignment. And even though I tried as often as possible to assign her portfolios, with that in mind, the meager sums that editorial magazines like Bazaar paid, were negligible. So when Marvin Israel and Diane came up with this idea to create an original portfolio of ten photographs, in an edition of fifty, for $1,000, her hopes were high.”

    Arbus assembled this intimate prospectus comprising of contact sheet prints of each image in the Box of Ten affixed to paper with a typed description of the portfolio. Ansel continues:

    “She handed me my sheet in the Bazaar office with a giddy look on her face. As much as I wanted to buy the portfolio, I couldn’t afford it. The story goes, that she sold only four portfolios. The first was to Dick Avedon, the second to Bea Feitler [Ansel’s co-art director at Harper’s], the third to Mike Nichols, and the fourth to Jasper Johns.”

    Titles include: Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade, N.Y.C., 1967; The king and queen of a senior citizens dance, N.Y.C., 1970; A family on their lawn one Sunday in Westchester, N.Y., 1968; A young man in curlers at home on West 20th Street, N.Y.C., 1966; Identical twins, Roselle, N.J., 1967; A Jewish giant at home with his parents in the Bronx, N.Y., 1970; Mexican dwarf in his hotel room in N.Y.C., 1970; Retired man and his wife at home in nudist camp one morning, N.J., 1963; Xmas tree in a living room in Levittown, L.I., 1963; A young Brooklyn family going for a Sunday outing, N.Y.C., 1966

  • 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

An Influential Vision: The Collection of Ruth Ansel


Promotion Flyer for 'A Box of Ten Photographs'

Two gelatin silver contact sheet strips affixed to paper support with typed description and purchasing information for A Box of Ten Photographs.
Each strip approximately 7 1/2 x 1 3/8 in. (19.1 x 3.5 cm)
Overall 8 1/2 x 11 in. (21.6 x 27.9 cm)

$10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for $35,000

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Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs

Sarah Krueger
Head of Sale, New York

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Photographs Evening & Day

New York 5 & 6 October 2016