Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Artist who have commited suicide:

Artist who killed themselves

A morbid topic, yet some how facinating.

Here is an alphabetical listing of those dearly departed artists (plus one art historian and one famous patron) who chose to leave this world by their own hands. Attempted suicides and gradual suicides by substance abuse have not been included. Neither will you see here the multitudes of artists who - unknowingly - killed themselves, over time, by licking lead and arsenic off their brushes, or inhaling acid while etching in unventilated rooms.

Whenever possible, methods, motivations and mitigating factors have been included.

An example of work by Henry Alexander.

Alexander, Henry (ca. 1860-1894)
American painter

Drank carbolic acid.

Arbus, Diane (1923-1971)
American photographer

Took a lethal dose of barbiturates and
slashed her wrists.

Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian (1868-1926)
English architectural historian

Overdosed on sleeping pills in Baghdad.
Bonvin, Léon (1834-1866)
French watercolorist

Hung himself from a tree in the forest of
Meudon, after a Parisian dealer rejected
his paintings.

Borromini, Francesco (1599-1667)
Italian architect

Threw himself on a ceremonial sword,
then lingered for another 24 hours.
Bugatti, Rembrandt (1884-1916)
Italian sculptor and draftsman

Put on one of his finest suits and gassed himself.

Bupalos and Athenis
(active ca. 540-ca. 537 BC)
Greek sculptors

Rumored to have been driven to suicide by
the nasty, albeit poetic, written attacks
of Hipponax (who apparently didn't like
their sculpture of him).

Carrington, Dora
English painter and decorative artist

Shot herself a few weeks after the death of
her companion, Lytton Strachey.

Cassandre, Adolphe Mouron (1901-1968)
French painter, designer and typographer

Crevel, René (1900-1935)
French Dada and Surrealist poet

Gassed himself the day before the Congress of
Writers for the Defense of Culture met in Paris.

Czigány, Dezsö (1883-1937)
Hungarian painter

Committed suicide in a psychotic fit, but
not before killing his family.

Daswanth (active ca. 1560; d 1584)
Indian miniature painter

Stabbed himself with a dagger.

Dayes, Edward (1763-1804)
English painter, draftsman and printmaker

Domínguez, Oscar (1906-1957)
Spanish painter and sculptor
Doort, Abraham van der (1575/80-1640)
Dutch wax-modeler, drawing-master and

Left this world despondent over the thought
that he might have misplaced one of
Charles I's favorite miniatures.

Erhard, Johann Chirstoph
German painter and printmaker

Fagan, Robert (1761-1816)
English painter, archaeologist and dealer

Jumped out of a window in Rome.

Frank, Jean-Michel (1895-1941)
French designer

Leapt to his death in New York City after having
been there for one week. Purely coincidental.

Fries, Ernst (1801-1833)
German draftsman, painter and lithographer

Slit his wrist.

Gagneraux, Bénigne (1756-1795)
French painter and engraver

"Fell" out of a window in Florence.

Gerstl, Richard (1883-1908)
Austrian painter and draftsman

Disemboweled himself with a butcher knife
after a brief romantic fling with the wife
of the composer, Arnold Schoenberg.

Gertler, Mark (1891-1939)
English painter

Tightly sealed up a room and turned on
the gas ring.

Gorky, Arshile (1904-1948)
American painter

His studio had burned, his wife had left him,
his health was bad and he had no money -
so he hung himself.

Greco, Alberto (1915-1965)
Argentine painter, sculptor and performance artist

Overdosed on barbiturates, and left notes
about how it felt (for as long as he could,

Gros, Baron Jean-Antoine
French painter

Drowned himself in the Seine

Haydon, Benjamin Robert
English painter, teacher and writer

Shot himself, then cut his throat.

Hébuterne, Jeanne (1898-1920)
French painter

Pregnant with their second child, she leapt from
a third-story window two days after her partner,
Amedeo Modigliani, died of tuberculosis.

Johnson, Ray (1927-1995)
American painter, collagist, "mail" and
performance artist

Committed "Rayocide" one Friday the 13th
by jumping off a Sag Harbor bridge and
backstroking away.

Kahlo, Frida (1907-1954)
Mexican painter

We're fairly certain she overdosed on painkillers,
though the coroner's report read, "pulmonary

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig (1880-1838)
German painter, printmaker and sculptor

Shot himself after the combination of illness
and the termination of his career by the National
Socialist Party proved too much.

Kricke, Norbert (1922-1984)
German sculptor

Kruyder, Herman (1881-1935)
Dutch painter and draftsman

Committed suicide in a psychiatric hospital.

Kurzweil, Max (1867-1916)
Austrian painter and printmaker

On leave from being a war artist in Istria, he
did it in Vienna.

Lefèvre, Robert-Jacques-François (1755-1830)
French painter

Lehmbruck, Wilhelm (1881-1919)
German sculptor, painter and printmaker

Lemoyne, François (1688-1737)
French painter and draftsman

Lo Savio, Francesco (1935-1963)
Italian painter and sculptor
Lombardi, Mark (1951-2000)
American draftsman

Hung himself in his Williamsburg, New York

Malaval, Robert (1937-1980)
French painter and sculptor

Shot himself in the head.

Maurer, Alfred (1868-1932)
American painter

Hung himself in the doorway of his father's

Mayakovsky, Vladimir (1893-1930)
Russian poet, playwright and artist

Shot himself.

Mayer, Constance (1775-1821)
French painter

Cut her throat with the razor of painter
Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, who'd been her teacher
and then her lover but was not, apparently,
going to be her husband.

Min Yŏng-hwan (1861-1905)
Korean calligrapher and painter

Was so strongly opposed to living under the
1905 Protection Treaty being enforced
by Japan, that he decided not to.

Minton, John (1917-1957)
English painter and illustrator

Took an overdose of Tuinal.

Nero (AD 37-68)
Roman art patron and, yes, emperor

Decided stabbing himself in the neck was
preferable to being flogged to death.

Pascin, Jules (1885-1930)
American painter, draftsman and printmaker

Pascin succeeded financially but was mentally unstable.
Amidst growing appreciation for his "elegant little obscenities" (George Grosz), on the eve of a one-man show in a prestigious Paris gallery in 1930, Pascin, distraught over his stormy affair with Lucy Krohg, he committed suicide by slashing his wrists and then hanging himself.

Pellizza da Volpedo, Giuseppe (1868-1907)
Italian painter

Hung himself after the deaths of his
wife and son.

Réquichot, Bernard (1929-1961)
French painter, collagist and writer

Robert, Louis-Léopold (1794-1835)
Swiss painter

Killed himself in Venice, in front of his easel, on
the 10th anniversary of his brother's suicide.

Rothko, Mark (1903-1970)
American painter

Slit his wrists in his New York studio.

National Gallery of Art in Washington
has a wonderful on-line slide presentation on
Rothko's work.

Loacted here at:

Sage, Kay (1898-1963)
American painter and poet

"I have built an ivory tower of despair...
I scream, I scream...
In my ivory tower."

-- Kay Sage, 1957

Seymour, Robert (1800-1836)
English printmaker and painter

Shot himself in the garden at his home in
Soares dos Reis, António (1847-1889)
Portuguese sculptor, engraver and teacher

Soroka, Grigory (1823-1864)
Russian painter and draftsman

Staël, Nicolas de (1914-1955)
French painter

Jumped out of his studio window in Antibes.

Stauffer-Bern, Karl (1857-1891)
Swiss printmaker, painter, sculptor and poet

Tilson, Henry (?1659-1695)
English painter and draftsman

Shot himself through the heart with a pistol over
the unrequited love of a wealthy patroness.

van Gogh, Vincent (1853-1890)
Dutch painter

Died, two days afterwards, of a self-inflicted
gunshot wound to the chest.

Vaughan, Keith (1912-1977)
English painter

Chose to overdose, rather than live with bowel
cancer, kidney disease and depression.

Watanabe Kazan (1793-1841)
Japanese painter

Committed an honorable suicide after a run in
with the Tokugawa shogunate (over its
isolationist policies) led to his being under house

Witkiewicz, Stanislaw Ignacy (1895-1939)
Polish writer, art theorist, painter and photographer

When the Second Army invaded Poland, he tied
himself to his lover, fed her poison and slit his
wrists. She regained consciousness. Him - no.
Witte, Emanuel de (1617-1693)
Dutch painter

Said to have drowned himself, after his body
was discovered in a frozen canal.

Wood, Christopher (1901-1930)
English painter

Stepped in front of a train.
Xue Ji (AD 649-713)
Chinese calligrapher and scholar-official

Forced to commit suicide after somehow
becoming embroiled in a plot to poison
the new emperor.

Keywords: artist suicide,

Edited byPaul Grant - web site

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