An Inside Look: Adolph Gottlieb to Weldon Kees, 1951


On January 15, 1951, Life magazine published a photo of some of the artists who became known as “The Irascibles”. Three days later, Adolph Gottlieb wrote a letter to Weldon Kees, one of the protesting artists who is not in the photo, describing the negotiation between Life and the Irascibles.


“I suppose you have seen the Life article on the Met show. Too bad you were not in it Weldon, you are even more photogenic than the rest of us. Did you know Life wanted us to pose on the steps of the Met, each of us holding one of our paintings? We refused and after considerable negotiating and numerous meetings on our part, all of which took about 10 days, Life capitulated by agreeing to a straight shot in the studio…

the picture turned out well, but was not worth the trouble. I think they definitely got the idea that we do not trust Life, that we disagree with its way of handling art stories, and that we are completely uncooperative, and don’t take their lousy magazine seriously despite all its publicity.”