DIANE ARBUS (1923-1971)
DIANE ARBUS (1923-1971)
DIANE ARBUS (1923-1971)
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DIANE ARBUS (1923-1971)
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The Attentive Gaze: Photographs from a Private Collection
DIANE ARBUS (1923-1971)

Teenage couple on Hudson Street, N.Y.C. 1963

DIANE ARBUS (1923-1971)
Teenage couple on Hudson Street, N.Y.C. 1963
signed and inscribed 'YOUNG COUPLE 10TH ST N.Y.C. 1962 DIANE ARBUS' (on the reverse); signed by Doon Arbus, Administrator, and stamped 'a diane arbus print’ with annotations '#1644-8-05-1620' (on the reverse); stamped Estate copyright credit (on the reverse)
gelatin silver print
image: 13 x 12 1/2 in. (33 x 31.7 cm.)
sheet: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm.)
Photographed in 1963 and printed by the artist between 1967-1970. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Estate of Diane Arbus, signed by Doon Arbus.
Gagosian Gallery, New York
Private collection, Boston, 1984
Anon. sale; Christie's, London, 6 March 2019, lot 118
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
D. Arbus, ed., diane arbus, New York, 1972, p. 101 (another example illustrated).
C. Gollonet et. al., THE PULSE OF LIFE: Portraits. Fundación MAPFRE Collections., Madrid, 2015, p. 131 (another example illustrated).
S. Meister, Arbus Friedlander Winogrand: New Documents, 1967, New York, 2017, p. 53 (another example illustrated and illustrated on the cover).
New York, Museum of Modern Art, New Documents, February-May 1967 (another example exhibited).
New York, Museum of Modern Art; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; Baltimore Museum of Art; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center and Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, Diane Arbus, November 1972-April 1974, no. 24 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Diane Arbus Revelations, October 2003-October 2006, pp. 102 and 323 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Paris, Jeu de Paume, Diane Arbus, October 2011-February 2012 (another example exhibited).

Brought to you by

Kathryn Widing
Kathryn Widing Vice President, Senior Specialist, Head of 21st Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Diane Arbus was born Diane Nemerov in New York City on March 14, 1923. She attended the Ethical and Fieldston schools, and at the age of 18 she was married to Allan Arbus. With no lengthy formal training but a voracious intellectual and artistic appetite, early on Arbus found her way into classes with two photographers, Berenice Abbott and, most importantly, Lisette Model, as well as art director Alexey Brodovitch.

In 1956, the commercial photographic partnership that she and husband Allan Arbus had maintained for roughly ten years was ended. She was 33 years old. At this moment, “and apparently for the first time, [Arbus] starts numbering her negatives and corresponding contact sheets beginning with #1. She will maintain this system for the rest of her career.” (Diane Arbus, Revelations, Random House, New York, 2003, p. 139).

In the Fall of 1962, Diane Arbus submitted a portfolio of photographs as part of an application for a Guggenheim Fellowship for Photography. Various friends and photographers—Walker Evans, Robert Frank and Lee Friedlander among them—offered to write letters of recommendation, including her teacher, the photographer Lisette Model. Model’s letter of recommendation, dated January 4, 1963, begins as follows:

“Photographers can be good, bad, excellent, first rate, or tops, but there are hardly any artists among them. Here is an exception.” (L. Model, quoted in Diane Arbus: Revelations, exh. cat.,New York, 2003, p. 165).

By the year of her death in 1971, Arbus had deeply impacted the New York art and photography world. The Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, headed by esteemed photography curator John Szarkowski, mounted a full scale retrospective in 1972, helping to cement her place in a quickly evolving canon of great 20th century artists. Time has revealed her lasting influence, with major retrospectives hosted by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Jeu de Paume, Paris, in recent years.

Her interest in 'couples' was a consistent theme throughout her career. Large format, signed and titled lifetime prints of Teenage couple on Hudson Street, N.Y.C. 1963, such as the present lot, are scarce. Examples can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris.

Importantly, the border treatment of the present lot contains clues as to when Arbus made this print. As described by printer Neil Selkirk in the essay “In the Darkroom”, published in Diane Arbus: Revelations, “around 1965, [Arbus] had begun to surround her square images with broad, irregular black borders.”

Up until that point, ever since 1956 when she began printing her own work, she had employed hard, clean edges to her images with ample white borders. A filed-out negative carrier provided this shift to black borders. Those irregular, black borders eventually gave way to a much-softened, still irregular treatment. “She reduced the black borders to a vestigial condition,” Selkirk writes. “The new borders were scarcely there.”

As confirmed by the estate, the present lot was printed by Arbus between 1967 and 1970. It is a stunning example of an artist at work.

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