CULTURE & ARTS

Humble Snapshots Of 20th Century Art Giants Being Regular People

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Jackson Pollock, Clement Greenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, and an unidentified child at the beach in East Hampton, New York, July 1952. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers.

If you've ever wished for an art world equivalent of a celebrity tabloid that would prove 20th century giants like Picasso, Kahlo and Pollock were really just like us, look no further.

Tucked away in none other than the Smithsonian’s archives, amongst diaries, letters and other artist mementos, rests a treasure trove of artist photos so average, it's pretty extraordinary. We're talking Andy Warhol crossing the street, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner enjoying a beach day, Alexander Calder ogling one of his iconic mobiles, Ansel Adams taking a solo shot in a photo booth. Never before have the biggest artists of the 20th century seemed so much like, well, normal people.

As explained by the folks at Smithsonian: "Unlike the familiar official portraits and genius-at-work shots, these humble snaps capture creative giants with their guard down, in the moment, living life." The black-and-white gems have been compiled into a book entitled Artists Unframed, by Merry A. Foresta, an independent curator and former curator of photography at the Smithsonian Institution.

See a preview of the book, available from Princeton Architectural Press, here.

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