Diane Arbus

American, 1923–1971

His Serene Highness, Prince Robert de Rohan Courtenay, 1961

silver print on paper

35.5 x 27.7 cm Image: 27.2 x 18.1 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from an anonymous donor



Photograph, Photography

Acclaimed photographer Diane Arbus is known for her powerfully strange and troubling images that reveal the quirky, pathetic, and even freakish aspects of humanity. In the early 1960s Arbus spent a great deal of time photographing the eccentric Prince Robert de Rohan Courtenay. The prince was born in Oklahoma, yet laid claim to the throne of the Byzantine Roman Empire. As pictured in this photograph, he lived in a highly baroque 1.83 by 2.74 metres room on 48th Street in New York City. Arbus would spend hours with the prince in this room, poring over his thousands of poems, scrawled in some form of pig latin. A meaningful stanza which Arbus deciphered read β€œhe who searches for trash so surely finds only trash.”

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