11 Never-Seen Photos From Diane Arbus’s Most Famous Series Will Debut in New York This Fall

The show is a product of a unique collaboration between Arbus's longtime dealer, Fraenkel Gallery, and David Zwirner.

Diane Arbus during a class at the Rhode Island School of Design, 1970. Photo © Stephen A. Frank.

San Francisco-based Fraenkel Gallery, which has a long and rich history with iconic photographer Diane Arbus, has enlisted the help of mega-gallery David Zwirner to bolster its representation of the artist’s estate.

The two galleries are kicking off the collaboration with the first-ever complete presentation of the photographer’s famous Untitled series at Zwirner’s gallery on 20th street in Chelsea this November. The upcoming display of the series, shot at residences for the developmentally disabled between 1969 and 1971, will include eleven never-before-seen images.

Arbus, who died in 1971 had considered making a book of the images but the series was largely unknown to viewers until 1995, when Aperture published them.

“Though Arbus’s career as a serious artist spanned only fifteen years—1956 through 1971—we are still coming to terms with her achievement, significant aspects of which remain relatively little known,” said gallery founder Jeffrey Fraenkel in a statement. Calling the Zwirner team “exceptional,” Fraenkel added that the team-up will help the work to be seen and better understood especially in Europe and Asia, where there have been few or no gallery exhibitions.

Diane Arbus, Untitled (49), 1970–71. © The Estate of Diane Arbus.

Fraenkel is not the first to seek the assistance of the powerhouse Zwirner gallery, which has staff of over 160 and locations around the world, including three in New York and one each in London and Hong Kong. Zwirner has also collaborated with dealer Michele Maccarone in her representation of artist Carol Bove.

David Zwirner said in a statement: “I am honored to have been entrusted to help the Estate and Fraenkel Gallery with the extraordinary legacy of Diane Arbus, whose radical work remains as relevant today as when her photographs were taken.”

Fraenkel and Zwirner plan to co-present “Diane Arbus/Alice Neel” at the next Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) annual Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory in March 2019. Fraenkel, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, began working with Arbus in 1979, the same year that the gallery opened.

Recognition and prices have been on the rise for the critically acclaimed photographer over recent years.

According to the artnet Price Database, the record price of $792,500 was achieved in April of this year at Christie’s New York, for a box of ten photographs from 1970. The second highest price of $785,000 was paid in May 2015, also at Christie’s New York, for a single print, Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C., (1962).

Arbus was also the subject of a major show, “Diane Arbus: In the Beginning,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Madison Avenue branch, the Met Breuer, in 2016. It featured more than 100 of the groundbreaking photographer’s most provocative images.

“Diane Arbus: Untitled” will open to the public at Zwirner Gallery, 537 West 20th Street, on November 2.


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