Diane Arbus, ‘Promotion Flyer for 'A Box of Ten Photographs’, 1970-1971, Phillips

An Influential Vision: The Collection of Ruth Ansel
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)

From the Catalogue:
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."
Courtesy of Phillips

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

Directly from the artist

About Diane Arbus

American photographer Diane Arbus is famous for her poignant portraits of individuals on the margins of society, such as street people, transvestites, nudists, and carnival performers. Arbus’s work is highly controversial, eliciting in some viewers an overwhelming sense of compassion, while others find her images bizarre and disturbing. Her practice challenged established conventions dictating the distance between photographer and subject, resulting in the raw psychological intensity that characterizes her photographic portraiture.

American, 1923-1971, New York, New York