Questia is honoring LGBT Pride Month by sharing a few interesting facts on the five most researched LGBT painters in our library. To celebrate, we’ve even opened up our library to make reference works on each of these artist free for a whole month. Continue the celebration by checking out the Huffington Post‘s slideshow of 15 LGBT art exhibits you can visit around the country this month. Enjoy!
- Andy Warhol: In the visual art movement known as pop art, Warhol was a leading figure and created iconic masterpieces that are engrained within American pop culture, such as the infamous Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings. While Warhol may be most well-known for his paintings, he expressed his art through many other mediums such as sculpture, fashion and theater. Throughout his career, Warhol allowed his sexuality to be reflected in his work and openly explored the complexities of sexuality and desire, with some of his homoerotic drawings of male nudes receiving rejection from galleries for being too openly gay at the time. [Horne, Peter. Lesbian and Gay Sexualities and Visual Cultures. Routledge: 1996]
- Rosa Bonheur: Bonheur is widely considered to be one of the most famous female painters of the nineteenth century and his work can be viewed in world-class museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Musée d’Orsay. Bonheur’s sexual identity is said to be expressed through her art, with many of the animals in her work depicting the constraints felt by many homosexuals at that time. Bonheur was also notorious for dressing in masculine attire, often opting for trousers, and many scholars view this as an overt expression of her lesbian identity. [Broude, Norma, et al. The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History. Westview Press: 1992]
- Keith Haring: Greatly enthused by New York City’s street culture in the 1980s, Haring received inspiration from graffiti art and studied at the city’s School of Visual Arts. His legendary chalk drawings graced the surfaces of everything from subway walls and lamp posts to black paper and painted plastic or metal. Haring was openly gay, and much of his personal sexual politics was injected into his artwork, reflecting socio-political themes in the public sphere, such as AIDS awareness and the crack cocaine epidemic. Although he passed away as a result of AIDS-related complications in 1990, his legacy and messages live on through his foundation. [Aldrich, Robert, et al. Who’s Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History. Routledge: 2001]
- Robert Rauschenberg: One of the most important figures in art history of the late-twentieth century, Rauschenberg developed a technique for screen printing images from popular media such as newspapers and magazines. Through this technique, Rauschenberg was able to juxtapose recognizable images yet highlight the complexity and vibrancy of modern visual culture. Rauschenberg developed a powerful friendship with fellow artist Jasper Johns, and it has been theorized the two pursued an intimate relationship. [Bossy, Michel- Andre. Lives and Legacies: An Encyclopedia of People who Changed the World. Oryx Press: 2001]
- David Hockney: One of the most widely known and appreciated British artists, Hockney is the self-proclaimed “Playboy of the art world.” He received early success with a series of etchings, The Rake’s Progress, but unlike many of his fellow contemporaries, he did not become closely associated with any one movement. Throughout his career, Hockney adopted a more naturalistic style of painting, depicting beach houses, swimming pools and scenes of pleasure and leisure. [Christopher, David. British Culture. Routledge: 1999]
For further tribute to LGBT Pride Month, take a look at our recent blog post honoring the work of famous LGBT playwrights!