Some of the world’s greatest and most-loved artists died under the age of forty. But how did the likes of Basquiat, Van Gogh and Schiele 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? In Kate Bryan’s new book she examines the lives and legacies of 30 great artists whose died too young. With five thematic chapters (Burning Bright, Mythology of Death, Pioneers, Battles and Salvation, Unfinished Stories), Kate sheds light on each artist’s life and work, their untimely deaths and how their collections have been secured for future generations. Most artists have decades to hone their craft, persuade unimpressed critics and build their reputation, but that's not the case for the artists in this book. Some were only recognised posthumously (Charlotte Salomon) and others went in and out of favour (Caravaggio); some were remembered for the wrong reasons (Basquiat), and others are still owed the recognition they 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. Spanning centuries and offering unique biographies of the world’s greatest artists, this is a celebration of talent so great it shines on.
Kate Bryan is an arts presenter, curator, expert tour guide 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.