Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)
Also known as: Diane Nemerov ArbusBirth Place: New York, NY USA
Who was photographer Diane Arbus?
Diane Arbus is a luminary figure in the world of photography. Her photographs were often of marginalized and forgotten segments of society and were noted for often using LGBTQ subjects, mothers, the elderly, and middle-class families. Her photographs were also notable for their closeness to their subject, she took great care to not exoticize her subjects. The results are portraits that are painfully tender, beautiful, and almost surreal in quality.
She experimented with many kinds of cameras, before eventually settling on her iconic 35mm Nikon camera, whose grainy images make an Arbus photograph immediately recognizable. Early on, Arbus struggled to support herself but was eventually given a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1963. Throughout the 1960s she worked as a documentary photographer for Esquire magazine while also teaching photography at the Parsons School of Design. She died in 1971.
What kind of art does Diane Arbus make?
Diane Arbus was a photographer. During her lifetime she helped to popularize documentary photography of the unseen populations in the rural south as well as becoming a famed portraitist for many of the NYC glitterati. Some of her subjects included Jane Mansfield, Norman Mailer, and Mae West. Though money was always a struggle for the hard-working Arbus, she did manage to sell multiple prints to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and created a series for Artforum magazine.
While she often felt overlooked during her lifetime, Arbus has now been justifiably called one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. Arbus, more than anyone else, helped to reshape photography’s role as a populist art form, whose real-life subjects were reflected in the gritty lens of her 35 mm Nikon.
How did photographer Diane Arbus get started?
Diane Arbus studied photography in the 1950s with Lisette Model, whose gritty street life photographs were an instant inspiration for the young photographer. While Arbus had worked as a commercial photographer before then, it would be Model’s influence that helped Arbus find her artistic center. In 1956, Arbus moved to a 35mm Nikon, a tool that she would use for the rest of her career. The signature look of the Nikon, a gritty black and white image whose use of a flash - even during the day - created flat, surrealist photographs of Arbus’s subjects. Her photographs often show her subjects in isolation, yet Arbus was friends with many of them and would continue relationships over the course of decades -- often re-photographing people many years later.
How much are Diane Arbus’s photographs worth?
Diane Arbus photographs are extremely valuable -- many sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. At auction, her highest-selling photograph is the piece Identical twins, Cathleen and Colleen, Roselle, NJ (1967) which sold for $483,000 on April 27, 2004. This was a full hundred thousand more than the pre-auction high estimate. While many works have sold for a large sum, there is still some value to be found in an Arbus photograph, some can even be had for tens of thousands of dollars.
Where to buy Diane Arbus photographs for sale?
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How to value Diane Arbus photographs?
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