Artists are considered to be born romantics that listen to their hearts more than their brains. It is no surprise then that most artists have a strong and complex love life. When two artists fall in love you can be sure that sparks will fly in what always seems to be a passionate and flammable relationship. Falling in love can also motivate both artists to make art inspired by their mutual love. Here are 8 such artist couples who fell in love and became each other’s muse.
8. Willem and Elaine de Kooning:
Willem and Elaine de Kooning were both part of the New York School of Abstract expressionism or Action painting. They met in 1938 and fell in love. They got married in 1943 and remained together till Elaine’s death in 1989. Willem de Kooning died in 1997. Together they were the most influential couple in the Abstract art world during their time.
7. Lee Miller and Man Ray:
Lee Miller was a photographer and model who went on to become the lover and muse of another American photographer and surrealist artist Man Ray. She went to Paris with the intention of interning for Man Ray who at first refused as he didn’t take any students but later on fell in love with her and even let her handle his own photography assignments while he worked on his paintings.
6. Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keefe:
Alfred Stieglitz was an American photographer who is considered a pioneer in photography as an art form. He was married to Emmy Obermeyer when he fell in love with American artist Georgia O’Keefe. O’Keefe is today known as the mother of American Modernism and remained the muse of Stieglitz till his death in 1946. The couple married but rarely spent time together as Stieglitz like New York while O’Keefe lived in New Mexico.
5. Max Ernest and Leonora Carrington:
Max Ernest was a German painter, sculptor, graphic artist and poet. He is known to be a pioneer of the Dada and Surrealist movements. Leonora Carrington was a British born Mexican artist and novelist who fell in love with Ernest without even meeting him on just seeing his art. When they met in a party in London they bonded and left for Paris where Ernest left his wife for Carrington. Their relationship didn’t last long because of WWII during which Ernest was arrested first by the French for being German and later by the Germans for creating decadent art. He escaped with the help of Peggy Guggenheim and later married her. Carrington had psychotic breakdown and was institutionalized. The couple wasn’t able to get back together due to the misery they had experienced in their lives.
4. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner:
Jackson Pollock was an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He was an alcoholic and had a volatile personality. Lee Krasner, an abstract painter herself, was able to handle Pollock’s reclusive personality and they fell in love. They remained together till Pollock’s fatal car crash. Lee died in 1984 as the widow of Pollock and an influential painter.
3. Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg:
Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg were two male artists in love who had to keep their affair secret because they were much ahead of their time. The details of their love came out much later. Robert died due to heart failure in 2008 and Johns continues to paint and produce graphic art. Their love affair wasn’t as flamboyant as some of the other artist couples but it probably seems so because most of it had to be kept secret.
2. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo:
Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were both Mexican painters who represent the quintessential art couple. They were married to each other and were madly in love but the womanizing Diego cheated on her with her own sister after she had a miscarriage. Their affair went on for many years while they broke up and got back together only to cheat on each other and break up again. It might not sound very romantic but that’s the kind of love some artist couples have for each other. They both inspired each other to make art.
1. Pablo Picasso and Francois Gilot:
Pablo Picasso was 63 years old when he fell in love with a student, Francois Gilot who was only 23 at the time. She became his muse for a period of 9 years and gave birth to two of his children. But when she left her husband to marry Picasso, he backed down and later married Jacqueline Roque, to whom he stayed married till his death. Gilot became a painter and bestselling author in her own right and continues to show her work in exhibitions around the world.