Did You Know?
Did you know Georgia O’Keefe didn’t always live in the American Southwest? Did you know Edward Hopper was an inspiration to Alfred Hitchcock. Many well-known artists have lived some exciting lives, even if they may not have known it at the time. Here’s a list of a few facts you may not have previously known about, maybe even, your favorite artists.
1. Georgia O’Keeffe
Known more for her elaborate flowers, but also a great influence in creating Southwestern scenes, Georgia O’Keeffe did not always call New Mexico her home. In fact, she is native to Wisconsin and lived in many places from New York to Texas before finally settling down in New Mexico after the death of her husband in 1946.
2. Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh is most likely a name anyone would recognize. However, that wouldn’t have happened during the time he was actually painting. Known as the village drunk or the crazy person who lived on the edge of town, Van Gogh didn’t actually start painting until he was 27, quite an old age during the late 1800s.
3. Leonardo da Vinci
Most famous artists are lacking in the education department and Leonardo was no different. He grew up in the Tuscany countryside and spent most of his time outdoors exploring and observing the ways of nature. He never received any sort of formal education and got by on some minor homeschooling from his parents until he became an artist’s apprentice in his teenage years.
4. Jackson Pollock
Not all artists are uneducated; many did find themselves at school and others even at universities studying the nature of their trade. Pollock was one of them. Despite his fame now, Pollock spent much of his spare time as a young adult in Big Pines, California, working as a lumberjack to pay for his tuition and make his way through art school.
5. Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol was a strange man, but his artwork was sure popular. His interesting take on pop art was one of the driving forces of the movement. Even stranger than his many paintings of Campbell’s soup is the fact that his favorite thing to buy himself was nothing other than underwear. He took great joy in purchasing what he wore under his clothes.
Pictured above we see one of what is, most likely, one of Michelangelo’s most famous works, other than perhaps his sculpture of David. However, if it wasn’t for another famous painter name Raphael, Michelangelo would never have been given the opportunity to paint this famous scene. He was a young kid at the time spending most of him time sculpting. Raphael told Pope Julius II to hire Michelangelo in the hopes of him doing a terrible job to prove that the young new artists of the day weren’t all they were getting praised to be, which turned out to be, quite possibly, one of the biggest backfires in history.
7. Pablo Picasso
Picasso is a renowned famous painter known for his strange abstract view on shapes and how they fit together in his paintings. He has a keen eye for observing life in a strange new way that maybe not everyone can understand. Even so, he took his surrealist outlook and applied it to more than just artwork. Picasso also dabbled in poetry, writing over 300 poems that are known about as well as two plays. An artist all around.
8. Edward Hopper
Known for his classic diner and cafe scenes, you may not have guessed that Edward Hopper was actually an inspiration to Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock was something of an art nerd, if you will, and found Hopper’s “House by the Railroad” particularly moving (pictured below). He took the painting and used it as inspiration for the Bates house in none other than his incredibly popular film Psycho.
9. Claude Monet
Known most well for his serene scenes by water and often including flowers and especially including water lilies, you may not have guessed that Monet spent a year serving in the First Regiment of African Light Calvary. He was drafted at a young age in 1861. His father offered to pay his discharge if he would give up art and take on a reasonable career. Monet refused and served out one year of his seven year draft when he came down with typhoid. His aunt then paid for his discharge as well as for his tuition to art school in Paris.
10. Salvador Dali
Like Picasso, Dali was another artist known for his strange approach to art as seen with his odd desert landscape paired with melting clocks. Still, he had something special and a man named Walt Disney saw that talent and decided to collaborate on a project with Dali. They produced a film that was ultimately halted and left unfinished due to WWII. You can actually watch the finished product HERE––The project was finally completed in 1999 but was not fully discovered and finished properly until the early 2000s.
Did You Learn Something?
We hope so! There are many more strange and unusual facts where these came from. Maybe next time you’re at an art museum, you’ll pick an artist, wonder about them, and go home to do your own research on their journey. There’s always something new to discover.