Diane Arbus

American (New York City, New York, 1923 - 1971, New York City, New York)

Neil Selkirk, Printer

American, born England (London, England, 1947)

Retired man and his wife at home in a nudist camp one morning, N.J.

1963; printed 1971
photograph | gelatin silver print
Not on view at this time; find out where you can see works from our collection at locations around the Bay Area while our building is closed for expansion
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    Diane Arbus, Neil Selkirk, Retired man and his wife at home in a nudist camp one morning, N.J., 1963; printed 1971; gelatin silver print, 19 7/8 in. x 16 in. (50.48 cm x 40.64 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Margery Mann; © Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC

Feeling confined by middle-class norms, in the 1950s Arbus abandoned the successful commercial photography business she had built with her husband, Alan, and began a new life as a street photographer. Fascinated by the lives of people on the margins of proper society, she photographed individuals shunned by the mainstream due to accidents of birth or unusual life choices: circus performers, transvestites, dwarves, interracial couples, strippers, homosexuals, nudists.

This photograph of a retired couple sitting in their living room depicts a collision of the ordinary and the extraordinary. Except for the fact that the subjects, who are old enough to be grandparents, are completely nude, the scene is unremarkable. Arbus reveled in such awkward juxtapositions, which challenge conventional oppositions of the normal and the deviant.

19 7/8 in. x 16 in. (50.48 cm x 40.64 cm)
Acquired 1977
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Margery Mann
© Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC


men, women, portraits, nudes, interiors, living rooms, retreats

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