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