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April 08, 2008

Phillips Cancels tonights historic Diane Arbus Auction

In a surprise move, Phillips de Pury & Co. which had a huge historically important 100% Diane Arbus sale of the Hubert Museum work, scheduled for tonight... abruptly canceled it this morning.

They have announced the entire collection will be sold privately.  Hopefully, this means, that all of these amazing historic images will all go to a Diane_arbus_hurbert_museumpublic institution..instead of being broken up and sold on the auction block....never to be seen together again. Maybe the Met.. which already owns the entire Diane Arbus Archive will buy it!

The canceled auction had consisted of 20 vintage Diane Arbus photographs, many which were thought to be totally unique. These photographs were of a Times Square private freak side show, known as the Hubert Museum.  These  photo's were a classic photographic treasure trove of unknown Arbus work.. and these were almost found accidentally.  Actually the story of this portfolio's finding is almost as interesting as the images themselves. Here's a story about this collection of images...

Sadly..they've already taken down the images and the story details from the Phillips Website..but the single catalog of just this Diane Arbus Portfolio is still available.. and a must have for any Arbus Obsessed photo collector. (Photo by Diane Arbus, Hubert Museum, auction catalog cover image)

Here's the Phillips press release..


NewYork – April 8 – A rare and important collection of early photographs by DianeArbus chronicling life at Hubert's Museum, the legendary dime museum in Times Square, New York is to be sold privately by Phillips de Pury & Company

The collection composed of over 20 vintage prints and selection of the museum's archive was scheduled to be sold at auction in an evening sale tonight at the company's Chelsea galleries. Instead, the works will be sold privately and the spring Photographs auctions will commence tomorrow morning, April 9 with the 10am sale of the Corbeau et Renard Collection,Assembled by Gerd Sander to be followed by the various owner Photographs sale at 2pm


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Hey Mike,

Have you seen the new book by Gregory Gibson called Hubert's Freaks. It's about the dealer who bought and now sold the collection. I only just finished the preface.

Stop in to see Justin's show!!


I was interested in a Diane Arbus at Christie's that went for double its high estimate. I wonder if the cancellation at Phillips pushed prices up?

Gregory Gibson's book is wonderful. I had the chance to interview about the book. The podcast will be posted on Sunday April 27 at www,FrugalYankee.com

Too bad the auction was cancelled - the hope of never seeing these dreary snap shots again was too much to hope for .

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