A rare artist’s print of Diane Arbus’ sensational, 1966 photograph Identical Twins Cathleen and Colleen sold for $602,500 in New York on Tuesday (April 2).
Acquired directly from Arbus, who tended to concentrate her creative energies on the more freakish, deviant and surreal aspects of American life, the silver gelatine print brought a 173.9% increase on its $220,000 estimate, justifiably leading Phillips’ latest photography auction.
The price represents a new auction record for Arbus’ work.
In 1967 Arbus acknowledged: “In some societies twins are taboo, an aberration.”
“I thought how ordinary is a charming pair of twins.”
Arbus presents her twins in a manner which is at once endearing and unsettling. While the pair’s likeness is emphasized by their identical hairstyles and party dresses, a number of discrete and crucial differences (gaze, smile, stance) reveal two very distinct personalities.
Arbus biographer Patricia Bosworth identified the photographer’s ability to depict the “freakishness in normalcy and the normalcy in freakishness”. Identical Twins Cathleen and Colleen epitomises such bifocal proclivities; remaining among her most recognised and celebrated snapshots.
An online auction of 41 lesser known Diane Arbus prints is currently underway at Christie’s (March 29 – April 12), while here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we too have a number of art and photography treasures in stock.