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Art Gallery of Ontario Acquires 522 Diane Arbus Photographs

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) announced today that it has acquired 522 prints of photographs by Diane Arbus, the first works by the artist to enter its collection. Selected by AGO and purchased through the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, the collection spans the breadth of Arbus’s career. The museum’s new holdings include 221 prints made by Arbus and 301 prints made by Neil Selkirk, the only person authorized by the artist’s estate to make posthumous prints of her work.

The institution purchased rarely published or exhibited works such as Arbus’s early photographs from the mid-1950s, including Female Impersonators in Mirrors, N.Y.C., 1958, as well as works from the second phase of Arbus’s career—portraits of celebrities and luminaries like James Brown, Mia Farrow, Coretta Scott King, Norman Mailer, Marcello Mastroianni, Eugene McCarthy, and Mae West, which she captured for magazines such as Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar. Among the square-format photographs the museum purchased are Child with A Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C., 1962; Russian Midget Friends in A Living Room on 100th Street, N.Y.C., 1963; Puerto Rican Woman with a Beauty Mark, N.Y.C., 1965; and Identical Twins, Roselle, N.J., 1966.

“Diane Arbus is known for images that engage and entrance the viewer, revealing untold stories about her subjects but also making us think about ourselves,” said Stephan Jost, director, and CEO of AGO. “The expansion and development of our photography collection are a priority, and there is no better way to signal our intentions than with a transformational acquisition of this depth and breadth. We are incredibly grateful to our donors for their support, for a collection that is a gift to the AGO—and to the people of Ontario as well.”