I just finished reading the autobiography about Peggy Guggenheim, and am currently reading a book about Pierre Matisse. In these books, and other bios I’ve read I found some some interesting, and often little known facts about some of more popular artists through the years, so I thought I’d list some of them.
Peggy Guggenheim accompanied John Cage to Japan in 1962. Their interpreter was Yoko Ono, who shared a room with Peggy.
Monet won 100,000 francs with a state lottery ticket which made him financially independent.
Samuel Morse began as a painter before the Morse Code was born. He introduced the daguerreotype process of photography to the United States. He considered James Fenimore Cooper to be one of his best friends.
Picasso’s midwife thought he was stillborn, until his uncle picked him up and blew air in his lungs. His first word was pencil (in Spanish, of course).
The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, and Picasso was questioned about the theft with his friend the poet Apollinaire, who was briefly jailed.
Willem De Kooning’s lawyer was Linda McCartney’s father.
Elaine De Kooning taught art at the University of Georgia in the 1970’s.
Rembrandt declared bankruptcy.
Ruth Kligman was the survivor of Jackson Pollack’s car crash. She later lived for awhile with DeKooning.
After Rothko withdrew his murals from the Seagrams building in New York, he sent them to the Tate. The day they arrived at the Tate was the day Rothko committed suicide. (okay, so this one isn’t so fun, but tragic)
Lucien Freud had 14 known children by one wife and 12 mistresses.
Agnes Martin gave up painting for seven years, from 1967 – 1974.
Alexander Calder was married to the great niece of writer Henry James. His friends called him Sandy.
Jackson Pollack was often referred to as Jack the Dripper.
Do you have any facts to add? I think little tidbits like this make these larger than life artists seem a little more human!