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Arbus Photos From Times Square `Museum' to Be Sold in New York

By Linda Sandler

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Vintage prints by the photographer Diane Arbus and ephemera from the former Hubert's Museum in Times Square will be auctioned by Phillips de Pury & Co. in New York on April 8.

Arbus, whose work is collected by hedge funds as well as museums, began in the 1950s to visit Hubert's, a popular showcase for novelties, freaks and variety acts, Phillips said in a statement. On the block for as much as $2.5 million are 20 vintage prints by Arbus and material from the museum's archive that includes anonymous photographs, contracts and log books.

An early 1960s Arbus image, ``Exotic dancer standing in a dressing room, Hubert's Museum, NYC,'' has a top estimate of $120,000. ``Sword swallower Estelline Pike, on stage in sequined dress,'' from around 1959, has a $90,000 valuation. ``Snake eating a rat backstage at Hubert's Museum, NYC,'' from 1960, has a high estimate of $80,000.

They all are unique prints, said Phillips spokeswoman Ariel Childs.

Arbus, who died in 1971, is known for her unsentimental images of nudists, transvestites and freaks, mostly photographed in New York. Her auction record for a single picture is $478,400 paid in 2004 for the 1967 ``Identical Twins (Cathleen and Colleen), Roselle, NJ,'' sold at Sotheby's, according to sale tracker Artnet AG.

Hubert's operated on 42nd Street from the 1920s until 1965. The seller of the museum material is a U.S. collector, Childs said.


This is beautiful news.

As I read this, I couldn't help but smile.

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