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Legends Obsessed With Making Lists

Artist Adolf Konrad's packing list. (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Artist Adolf Konrad's packing list. (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 17:15 GMT

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – The greatest artists of all time kept their lives organized by making to-do lists.

Now through September, the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery in Washington, D.C., is exhibiting Lists: To-Dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, And Other Artists’ Enumerations, a display of lists made by legends like Picasso.

Curator Liza Kirwin says anyone who’s ever gotten satisfaction from checking off a to-do list can relate to the exhibit.

The lists give a glimpse into the personal lives of artists and document exactly what they were obsessing over at the time.

For instance, a grocery list found in painter Franz Kline’s pocket when he died proves that even the “macho” artist had chores.

Other memos include Gordon Newton’s $100 expense report for rent, food, and “bad habits,” and Adolf Conrad’s illustrated packing list of everything he needed to travel.

Kirwin dubs painter Oscar Bluemner the most compulsive list-maker because “he made lists of lists.”