Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Presents “Little Pictures Big Lives”

Released: 7/1/11

A special view into the intimate lives of “larger than life” people is given in the exhibition “Little Pictures Big Lives: Snapshots from the Archives of American Art.”

This exhibit will be on display from July 1 to Oct. 3, 2011 in the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery at the Smithsonian’s Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture.

Snapshots—thousands of them—are tucked away among the letters, documents and diaries of artists in the Archives of American Art. Most of these images date from the golden age of snapshot photography—the 1920s through the 1960s—when cameras first became widely owned and were used to document all kinds of occasions, both public and private. In today’s digital age of point–and–shoot, instant playback and Photoshop, snapshots evoke an earlier era of photography, when there was a charm in capturing, saving and sharing even the simplest of scenes. Capturing the authentic and the incidental, snapshots provide an intimate look into artists’ lives—who they knew, who they loved, where they worked, where they went and, perhaps most important, the little moments that made their lives rich and full.

This exhibition was guest curated by Merry Foresta, who will give a gallery talk July 15 at 3 p.m.

For more information see  Little Pictures Big Lives: Snapshots from the Archives of American Art

Visit the Archives' Blog

Sign up for our Newsletter

Latest News

Call for Proposals for Symposium on Mixed-media Archives and Contemporary Art History

The Archives of American Art announces an upcoming symposium, “The Multi-Media Archive: Stewardship and Use of Audiovisual Media Documenting Contemporary Art History,” to be held at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, in Washington D.C., on Friday, March 27.

Read More

Dedalus Foundation Visiting Scholar at the Archives of American Art

In honor of Robert Motherwell’s centenary, the Dedalus Foundation invites applications for a 2014-2015 art history research grant focused on Motherwell and his contemporaries.

Read More

Past articles: News Archive