Arbus, Diane

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Arbus, Diane Gender: F
Diane Nemerov
born on 14 March 1923 at 01:30 (= 01:30 AM )
Place New York, New York, 40n43, 74w0
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 22°40' s_mo.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 16°24 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 23°14'


American photographer. Arbus grew up in a nouveau riche family. Her mother's family owned a chain of fur and department stores where her father worked as merchandising director. Diane was the oldest of three children and said about her childhood, "I was a crummy princess." She was a private intelligent girl and was expected to conduct herself according to her parents' affluent Jewish standards. She was a rebel however, and despite her father's objections, pursued her artistic ambitions at a private school in the Bronx. She admitted that when she grew up, she wanted to be a "great sad artist." Her brother Howard and her sister Renee all pursued their creative talents and Howard Nemerov won a Pulitzer Prize for poetry, serving as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1988-1990.

In 1937, at age 14, she fell in love with Allan Arbus, a copy boy in her parents' department store He was 19 at the time and wanted to become an actor. Her parents were dead set against the relationship. In 1941, her parents gave in, and she married him on April 10, 1941, just after she turned 18.

During World War II, Allan was trained in combat photography and upon his return to the United States, he and Diane began to support themselves by using what he had learned to photograph the world of fashion. Their first assignment was of course photographing newspaper ads for her parents' stores. By 1947, they were providing photographic spreads for Glamour, Vogue and other fashion magazines.

Although they were busy, the couple was not earning much money and, in the face of her parents' refusal to help, they barely managed to support themselves and their two children. Diane suffered from serious bouts of depression. As Allen continued to pursue his original acting dreams, she began to work on other photography projects, following her attraction to the strange and the taboo subjects which marked her developing style. The marriage began to crumble, with each partner involved with others and pursuing different careers. In 1959, they separated though they did not divorce for 10 years or more.

She continued to work, now on photo essays that established such emotional connection to her work that she earned high praise from New York artists and publishers. In 1965, three of her pictures were included in an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, though reaction was not always positive, especially to the nudes and other unconventional subjects. Controversy about her work followed her for the remainder of her career. On July 26, 1971, she committed suicide by slashing her wrists, and her body was not found for two days. She left no note and her reasons for taking her own life are unknown. The Museum of Modern Art sponsored a posthumous exhibit of her life work. That retrospective, along with publications of her photographs, brought her acclaim that will continue for generations to come.

She committed suicide

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Bosworth, Patricia (born 24 April 1933). Notes: Biographer/ subject
  • associate relationship with Frank, Robert (born 9 November 1924). Notes: Members of The New York School of photographers
  • role played of/by Kidman, Nicole (born 20 June 1967). Notes: 2006 film "Fur"


  • Relationship : Marriage 10 April 1941 (married Allan Arbus)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : New Career 1947 (began fashion photography for magazines)
  • Relationship : End significant relationship 1959 (separated from Allan Arbus)
  • Social : Great Publicity 1965 (work appeared in major museum exhibit)

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes the book, "Diane Arbus: Revelations: (London: Jonathan Cape), p. 122 which cites the data as stated in one of her school assignments


  • Traits : Personality : Creative
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Depression
  • Family : Childhood : Advantaged
  • Family : Childhood : Family noted (brother won Pulitzer and was Poet Laureate)
  • Family : Childhood : Order of birth (oldest)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Divorces (one)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (two)
  • Personal : Death : Suicide
  • Vocation : Art : Photography