Bright Stars: Great Artists Who Died Too Young
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In Bright Stars, Kate Bryan examines the lives and legacies of 30 great artists who died too young, celebrating their inspirational stories and extraordinary talent.
Some of the world’s greatest and most-loved artists died under the age of forty. But how did they turn relatively short careers into such long legacies? What drove them to create, against all the odds? And how can we use these stories to re-evaluate artists lost to the shadows, or whose legacies are not yet secured?
Most artists have decades to hone their craft, win over the critics and forge their reputation, but that’s not the case for the artists in this book. Art heavyweights Vincent van Gogh and Jean-Michel Basquiat have been mythologised, with their early deaths playing a key role in their posthumous fame. Others, such as Aubrey Beardsley and Noah Davis, were driven to create, knowing their time was limited.
For some, premature death, compounded by gender and racial injustice, meant being left out of the history books – as was the case with Amrita Sher-Gil, Charlotte Salomon and Pauline Boty, now championed by Kate Bryan in this important re-appraisal. And, as Caravaggio and Vermeer’s stories show us, it can take centuries for forgotten artists to be given the recognition they truly deserve.
With each artist comes a unique and often surprising story about how lives full of talent and tragedy were turned into brilliant legacies that still influence and inspire us today. This is a celebration of talent so great it shines on.
Beautifully illustrated with portraits of the artists, as well as reproductions of some of their most famous works, this important and timely work makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the lives of some of the most talented artists throughout history.
Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Caravaggio, Dash Snow, Vincent van Gogh, Amedeo Modigliani, Francesca Woodman, Ana Mendieta, Félix González-Torres, Raphael, Yves Klein, Gordon Matta-Clark, Robert Mapplethorpe, Egon Schiele, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Amrita Sher-Gil, Johannes Vermeer, Robert Smithson, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Aubrey Beardsley, Noah Davis, Eva Hesse, Charlotte Salomon, Umberto Boccioni, Gerda Taro, Joanna Mary Boyce, Pauline Boty, Helen Chadwick, Khadija Saye, Bartholomew Beal.
Kate Bryan is an arts broadcaster, curator, mentor and writer. She is Head of Collections for Soho House & Co. globally and has written and presented television programmes for Sky Arts, Sky Arte Italia, BBC Two and BBC Four. She is a judge on the annual Sky Arts competition programmes Portrait Artist of the Year and Landscape Artist of the Year, and the author of The Art of Love (White Lion Publishing, 2019).