Book: Diane Arbus: A Biography

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Russeks ca. 1897, when it was a fur shop at 14th Street and University Place, and in the 1930s (right), after it had moved to this elegant Stanford White building at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue, and become the grand Russeks Fifth Avenue.

Diane, age five, with her brother Howard Nemerov, age eight.

The fiftieth wedding anniversary of Diane’s grandparents Meyer and Fanny Nemerov (seated, center row middle). Diane is holding a picture of Howard, who was ill with typhoid. Diane’s father David is standing (second from left), her mother Gertrude is seated (second from left).

Diane at fifteen. She had just fallen in love with Allan Arbus.

Diane and her parents posing for the Journal American. They had just returned from Europe.

The beautiful Gertrude Russek Nemerov.

Gertrude made this collage of the Nemerovs and the Russeks. Clockwise: Grandfather Frank Russek, Howard with his arm around Frank, Diane in a hat, Renée dancing with David, Grandmother Rose Russek, Frank again, David after becoming president of Russeks Fifth Avenue, Gertrude, and Howard in Royal Canadian Air Force uniform.

Howard during World War II. He was a pilot and flew fifty missions with the RAF and later fifty-seven bombing missions over the North Sea with the Eighth U.S. Army Airforce.

Roy and Renée Sparkia shortly after their marriage.


A. F. Arbus to Wed Miss Diane Nemerov

Mr. and Mrs. David Nemerov of 888 Park avenue have announced the engagement of their daughter, Miss Diane Nemerov, to Allan Franklin Arbus, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Arbus of 1225 Park avenue.

Miss Nemerov is a graduate of Fieldston School. Her father is executive vice-president of Russeks Fifth Avenue.

Mr. Arbus attended the College of the City of New York and is now in the advertising business.

Mr. & Mrs. Inc.

Case histories of seven married couples who are collaborating on joint careers in the arts, the sciences and business.

Diane and Allan Arbus found their forte in photography. They’ve known each other since their early teens, married young, and arrived at their chosen work only after sampling other careers. While Allan was working in advertising, he came into contact with fashion photographers and became a zealot. His enthusiasm converted Diane and they were soon planning, taking and printing pictures almost on a 24 hour a day basis. They began to specialize in fashions, established their own studio, and landed a large New York store account. They study their files of pictures constantly, seeking new design ideas and improvements. Working very slowly and carefully, they compose in the camera instead of relying largely on cropping and other mechanical photographic tricks. Result, a distinctive Arbus quality which includes elements of portraiture and fantasy.

A feature article that ran in Glamour magazine in 1947 shortly after Diane and Allan became partners in fashion photography.

Diane posing with her daughter Doon, who occasionally modeled for her parents.

Diane and Allan, from a 1951 article in Glamour entitled “I Love You Because…” Photograph by Frances McLaughlin-Gill.

Anne Dick and Alex Eliot, ca. 1940

Alex Eliot.

Jane Winslow Eliot.

Art director and painter Marvin Israel (right) with photographer Peter Beard at the International Center for Photography. Photograph by Orn R. Langelle.

Diane’s teacher, the photographer Lisette Model. David Vestal took this portrait in 1964.

Diane with an art student, Basha Poindexter. They had been part of an anti-Vietnam War demonstration which ended in Central Park.

Diane (left) teaching students at one of the small classes she sometimes organized.

Allan Arbus (left) and Mariclare Costello talking with Howard Nemerov at the opening of the “New Documents” show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967. Diane is watching them. Photograph by George Cserna from the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Diane in 1971, by Eva Rubinstein. She had given Eva an assignment “to take a picture of something or somebody you’ve never taken before or are afraid or in awe of…”

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