In honor of Valentine’s Day, The Line takes a look at six couples that changed art history.
Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock
Krasner and Pollock built established art careers in New York City before they met in 1942. The couple later married in 1945 in upstate New York. Krasner has been credited for promoting Pollock throughout his career, and is not attributed enough for her own artistic endeavors in abstract expressionism. Following Pollock’s death, she continued to paint and manage her husband’s legacy. Pollock’s work has been exhibited throughout the world including, MoMA, Tate Modern, and Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany.
Gala and Salvador Dalí
The couple met in 1929 when Gala was married to poet Paul Eluard. The couple first married in 1934. Gala immediately became a muse for Salvador’s artworks including, The Madonna of Port Lligat. By the 1930’s Salvador began signing his paintings with both of their names as, “it is mostly with your blood, Gala, that I paint my pictures”. Gala would go on to have numerous affairs during her marriage and die in 1982. After Gala’s death, Salvador lost most of his will to live and would spend the rest of his days in their castle located in Spain.
Elaine and Willem de Kooning
The de Koonings are most remembered for their prominent role in cementing abstract expressionism in art history. The couple met when Elaine, a student, was twenty years old and Willem was thirty-four. The couple married in 1943, where they would share the same studio space. They were noted as having an open relationship and having affairs with people that would eventually further Willem’s art career. The couple separated in 1957 only to reunite in 1976.
Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg
The couple mounted the end of abstract expressionism in the New York art scene and moved to promote the art of ordinary objects. Even though the couple would only remain together from 1954 to 1961, they forged the way for Neo-Dada, pop art, and modern art. Both remained secretive about their romantic relationship. Their artworks have been exhibited in MoMA, National Gallery of Art, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
Kahlo first met Rivera when she was an art student. Despite the 40-year age difference, the couple married in 1929, much to the disapproval of Kahlo’s parents. The turbulent relationship was marked by affairs, Kahlo’s chronic pain, and Rivera’s violent temper. The couple divorced in 1939 only to remarry the following year. The couple is known for having a deeply passionate and artistically challenging relationship.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The couple known for installations first met in 1958 in Paris when Christo was painting a portrait of Jeanne-Claude’s mother. Their works have been highly controversial as they often require years of a city’s approval such as The Gates in Central Park (2005) and Wrapped Reichstag in Berlin (1995). Their relationship was rooted in making their artworks even though Christo was normally attributed for the works until the mid-1990’s.