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Bright Stars: Great Artists Who Died Too Young

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 by Bristol artist Anna Higgie, 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.

The Artists

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.

'Bryan’s writing pops and zings like a Basquiat painting – and reminds us why truly great artists are immortal.NOEL FIELDING

'Bright Stars is a compelling reflection on the concept of legacy. Bryan’s wide ranging assessment of artists we lost too soon proves that longevity in art is rewarded to the stars that burn the brightest, however fleeting their lives and careers.' – MARIA BALSHAW, DIRECTOR OF TATE

Dimensions: 14.5 x 22.5cm
224 page hardback book

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