Diane Arbus - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • In the spring of 1967, Diane Arbus attended the pro-Vietnam War parade in New York where she turned her lens on a young man whose visible support of the War was in contrast to the overall ethos of his generation. He quickly became immortalized as the subject of one of her most seminal portraits, Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade, N.Y.C.


    A few years later Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade, N.Y.C. was featured as the cover of the May 1971 issue of Artforum. Arbus was the first photographer included in the publication and was lauded by editor-in-chief Philip Leider for her just-issued portfolio A box of ten photographs. Leider contended that the project solidified photography’s status as fine art. Inside the Artforum issue, a dream-like short text written by Arbus prefaced a feature titled ‘Five Photographs by Diane Arbus,’ all included in Box of ten.



    While not known definitively, it is believed that Arbus inscribed the print on offer to Peter Crookston, editor of The London Sunday Times Magazine. Arbus had been in contact with Crookston following her inclusion in the 1967 New Documents exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art. She would go on to work on several photographic projects for the magazine. Although Crookston later left the Times Magazine in 1969 to work for the short-lived magazine Nova, he continued to commission Arbus’s work.


    The photographer’s close relationship with Crookston is well documented as the pair corresponded regularly. In her letters to Crookston, Arbus wrote extensively of her many ideas for photographic projects and her fascination with the family, specifically her idea for a never-realized book to be titled Family Album. She shared details from her life with Crookston, such as her apartment search, her mother’s new engagement, and her feelings regarding her ex-husband. She even expressed her frustration with the amount the magazine was paying her. Crookston’s receptivity to her ideas meant that some of Arbus’s proposals – although not the majority – made it into the publication. Arbus’s personal and professional relationship with Crookston arguably resulted in her best magazine work.

    • Provenance

      The Royal and Sun Alliance Collection
      Christie's, New York, 24 April 2006, lot 21

    • Literature

      Arbus, Sussman, Phillips, Selkirk and Rosenheim, Diane Arbus: Revelations, p. 87
      Aperture, Diane Arbus, n.p.

    • 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


Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade, N.Y.C.

Gelatin silver print.
9 1/4 x 8 7/8 in. (23.5 x 22.5 cm)
Signed, dated and inscribed 'For Peter' by the photographer in ink in the margin; stamped 'A Diane Arbus print,' signed and annotated by Doon Arbus, Executor, in ink, estate copyright credit and reproduction limitation stamps on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$80,000 - 120,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023