Take a seat beside the swimming pools of 1950s and 1960s high society, via the iconic images created by one of America’s celebrated lifestyle photographers, Slim Aarons.
When you conjure up a visual of 1950s and 1960s America, what do you see? Something like a scene fresh from Mad Men, a Marilyn Monroe movie or a David Hockney painting: Hollywood glamour, sunshine and blue skies, youth, fashion, stiff drinks, fast cars, modern homes and famous public figures? These images come directly from American popular culture and the advertising of the era, much of which drew heavily on the work of lifestyle photographers such as Slim Aarons.
Aarons’ photos are synonymous with a particular mood and point in time - a post-War period of affluence and newness. Like Aarons (who had been a combat photographer during WWII), people wanted to leave the dark days of the war behind and celebrate the joys of modern American life.
Modernist design was in demand and fresh ways of living were emerging among members of high society, whose jetset lives were seen as aspirational. And so, Aarons’ imagery of streamlined minimal homes with tanned guests or proud home-owners lazing around azure-blue swimming pools (see ‘El Venero’), or apres-ski gatherings amid Verbier’s powdered coolness (‘Snowmass Picnic’), was perfectly placed to tap into this.
A regular contributor to magazines such as Life, Town & Country and Holiday, Aarons got a front-row view of the lives of figures such as the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Humphrey Bogart, and shared it with the masses. Travelling between locations such as Capri, the French Riviera, Verbier and Beverly Hills, he shot scenes that captured the public’s imagination – so much so, that his work became the inspiration for many a Madison Avenue ad exec who used his clean and colourful aesthetic to help peddle their products.
You can see why though. Spend a little time with these images and you begin to feel like you know luxury. You might be on your sofa, but looking at ‘Eden Roc Pool’ or ‘Poolside Gossip’ it feels like you are sitting in the sunshine, on a clifftop in France or Italy, watching the party unfold from the comfort of your sun lounger. Aarons’ photos transport you to another time and place, where you can relax and sip cocktails by a pool or hang out at a garden party, casually rubbing shoulders with the bold and the beautiful while being, well, fabulous!
Bring this feeling of relaxed, sun-filled glamour into your home and set the tone for everyday luxury with a timeless Slim Aarons print from artrepublic. We’ve got a wide selection in the gallery and online, with some special limited edition prints also coming very soon.
To find out more, speak to one of our art advisors, or visit us in the Brighton gallery.