During my early years at Time I had nothing but black and white “cuts” of artworks to illustrate my section. Finally, Dana Tasker succeeded in establishing a regular “art-color page”, with me choosing the material and writing the copy.
Soon afterward, Tack left Time to join Look magazine.
At fifty-two issues a year, it wasn’t long before Time accumulated a color reproduction “electroplate” equity worth millions of dollars.
Then one day in January, 1956, over lunch at the Century Club, I fell into fateful conversation with a visiting French critic.
I happened to mention my enthusiasm for American art.
Exuding Continental courtesy, the critic carved the air with his hands: “Mais, oui. Pre-Columbian sculpture.”
“No,” I said, “I mean painting.”
“Vous avez raison. Jackson Pollock!”
“Aren’t you aware of any other art on our side of the water?
“Alors. Nothing to pause over.”
I gaped at the man, thanked him kindly for getting my all-American goat, rose from my chair, and scurried back to Time. There I scrolled a sheet of paper into my typewriter and banged out an urgent memo to my bosses.
Time Inc, I wrote, ought to publish an art book authored by myself and designed to re-cycle over two hundred American paintings in our color-reproduction bank. We could, for the first time, firmly establish American painting on the world map.
(Excerpt from Alex’s forthcoming memoir, to be published by WriteSpa Press)