Artist: Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971).
Title: "Backwards Man in His Hotel Room, New York".
Medium: Original photogravure.
Date: Composed 1961. Printed 1978.
Dimensions: Overall size: 15 3/4 x 11 5/8 in. (400 x 295 mm). Image size: 13 3/16 x 8 13/16 in. (335 x 224 mm).
Lot Note(s): Stamped with the photographer's name, verso. High-grade archival paper. Ample margins. Fine, quality printing. Very good to fine condition. Comment(s): This edition authorized and supervised by Doon Arbus. Diane Arbus often combined the ordinary and the strange within a single image, to create photographs that surprise or shock the viewer. Here a man stands in a normal, slightly shabby hotel room looking blankly into the corner. It is only when you look more closely that you see that his feet are turned the wrong way round. The picture was made for a project on eccentrics that Arbus had proposed to Esquire and here features Joe Allen, ‘the Backwards Man’, a contortionist who worked in Hubert’s Museum, one of several ‘freak shows’ that Arbus visited for the project. In her notes on the assignment she mused that he was "a metaphor for human destiny – walking blind into the future with an eye on the past" (courtesy National Galleries of Scotland). Image copyright © The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC. [27153-3-600]