Intimate Vintage Snapshots of Famous Artists


A seldom seen college-aged Andy Warhol broods in a turtleneck and black rimmed glasses next to gals in bikinis. Picasso holds a bushy pup by a smiling child, the photo hand-inscribed “his daughter with whom he’s very much in love.” These snapshots of renowned artists taken in the early ’20s through the mid ’70s were found tucked into diaries and documents at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. The treasure of these images is not just in the intimate details — like Georgia O’Keeffe’s bathrobe and Jasper Jone’s contemplating slump — but also, in the vintage medium itself — the decaled edges, the whisk of sephia, the fuzzy sheen of a Polaroid flash — so dear in today’s age of instant digital photography. Peek into the private, unguarded moments of arty public people in our slideshow and catch “Little Pictures Big Lives” exhibit through October 3 at the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery at the Smithsonian.

Andy Warhol and friends on the beach, 1940s

Pablo Picasso and his daughter Maya Picasso, ca. 1944

Georgia O’Keeffe posing for Una Hanbury, 1967

Roy Lichtenstein, 1975

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, ca. 1945

Dennis Oppenheim with unidentified women, 1975

Lee Krasner at the beach, ca. 1945

Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and others with animal bones, ca. 1950

Richard Serra & Nancy Holt, 1975

Nam June Paik, 1975

Jasper Johns in his studio, 1963