The Irascibles

The group of American abstract artists known as The Irascibles, 1950. Back row, left to right: Willem de Kooning, Adolph Gottlieb, Ad Reinhardt, Hedda Sterne. Center row: Richard Pousette-Dart, William Baziotes, Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, Robert Motherwell, Bradley Walker Tomlin. Front, seated row: Theodoros Stamos, Jimmy Ernst, Barnett Newman, James C. Brooks, Mark Rothko. Photo by Nina Leen/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

The Irascibles is the label given to a group of Abstract Expressionist artists who wrote an open letter to the president of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, protesting the museum's exhibition American Painting Today 1950. The exhibition included no examples of Abstract Expressionist painting, and the group believed that the show's curators promoted only the most conservative kind of American painting and were "hostile to advanced art." In 1951, fourteen of the artists were assembled for a now iconic photograph, published by Life magazine in an article called "Irascible Group of Advanced Artists Led Fight Against Show."