A Family On The Lawn One Sunday In Westchester N Y
A Family on the Lawn One Sunday in Westchester, N. Y. is an iconic photograph by photographer Diane Arbus.
About the photograph
The photograph first appeared in a special issue of the London Sunday Times Magazine in 1November 1968. The issue was devoted to the subject of the family, and included a double-page spread featuring two photographs by Arbus (the other being ‘A Young Brooklyn Family Going for a Sunday Outing, N. Y. C’).
It depicts a young married couple relaxing on sun-loungers in a large garden, whilst their young child plays almost unnoticed in the background, framed between them.
Arbus described the image in her 1984 book ‘Magazine Work’:
“Nat and June Tarnopol … with Paul, aged four, one of their three children, in the garden of their home at Westchester, Connecticut. They are an upper middle class family, Mr. Tarnopol being a successful agent and publisher in the pop music business. I think it's such an odd photograph, nearly like Pinter, but not quite… the parents seem to be dreaming the child and the child seems to be inventing them.”
Arbus chose the image as part of her only career portfolio, ‘A Box of Ten Photographs’, which indeed included just 10 images from her entire career. It clearly illustrates Arbus’s square-format portraiture style, which she developed whilst using a 2 ¼ inch, twin-lens Rolleiflex camera in 1962.
At a New York Sotheby’sauction in April 2008, an early signed 1968 print of the photograph was sold for a price of $553,000, currently making it the 16th most expensive photograph ever sold at auction (as of June 2011). It had originally been given a pre-sale estimate of $200,000 - $300,000.
A Christie’s New York sale two days later saw a much later silver gelatine print of the photograph sell for $91,000, beating its estimate of $40,000 - $60,000.