Monday, 18 July 2016

5 Last Paintings of Artists Who Committed Suicide

There are so many ways to express what we feel and painting is probably the toughest of all. To decipher what a person is trying to say through his paintings can often be even tougher. Every painting has a story. Many artists have passed away and left a final masterpiece tantalizingly unfinished. Here are some famous painters who committed suicide.

1. Nicolas De Staël

Nicolas de Staël was a prolific French abstract artist of Russian origin, producing thousands of paintings and drawings over the course of a relatively short career. In the last five months of his life alone, he produced 147 paintings, one of the last of was most likely Blue Nude Lying.

He committed suicide by jumping from a tall building in Antibes, leaving his final work, Le Concert, unfinished. He was 41 years old. De Staël was inspired by a concert he had attended the night before, racing home and working on the painting ‘Le Concert’ all the next day, until the bad light made it impossible to continue. He then burned all his sketches and jumped to his death. Shortly before he died, he wrote, “I have not the strength to complete my paintings.

2. Henry Alexander

He was an American painter born in 1860 from California. After early exhibiting a talent for drawing and painting, he went to Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He was one of the creators of modern school of art. He also painted Chinese and Japanese subjects.

The problem with him was, he was suffering from money troubles and alcoholism. On May 15, 1894, his money trouble led him to commit suicide by swallowing oxalic acid in the Oriental Hotel at Broadway and Thirty-Ninth Street. His great work includes Morning Prayer, Sunday afternoon, first lesson, lost genius etc.

3. Arshile Gorky

He was the American painter who hanged himself when he was 44 in Sherman, Connecticut. He was suffering from series of crises.

His wife had an affair with Roberto Matta, his studio burned down; he underwent a colostomy for cancer. He broke his neck and his painting arm was temporarily paralyzed in a car accident. His wife left him, taking their children with her.  She was later married to British writer and war hero Xan Fielding.

4. Vincent van Gogh

By the age of 27, he’d already failed at being an evangelist, selling art, tutoring French. In 1886 he moved to Paris and started living with his endlessly supportive brother Theo and went into hibernation for two years to study Japanese prints. His last painting ‘Daubigny’s Garden’ depicts the large garden of Charles Daubigny.

On 27 July 1890, aged 37, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver. The bullet was deflected by a rib and passed through his chest without doing apparent damage to internal organs – probably stopped by his spine. He died that 29 hours after the gunshot due to untreated infection resulting from the wound. His last words were: "The sadness will last forever".

5. Octave Tassaert

He was a French painter of portrait and genre, allegorical paintings. He learned art from his father Jean-Joseph-François Tassaert and his older brother Paul. Collectors of his works include Alfred Bruyas and Alexander Dumas, but in 1863 he stopped painting altogether and tried to become a poet, selling all his remaining painting to the dealer Père Martin.

He declined into alcoholism, damaging his eyesight and finally committing suicide by inhaling coal gas in 1874. His appreciated works include Heaven and Hell, the Bourgeois kitchen etc

Written by Lavika Agarwal
Success does not come from never making mistakes, but by never making the same mistakes twice.

Back To Top
For Editorial Submissions, Business Inquiries or any other query, do write to us at

Copyright © 2017    ReviewMantra |  Terms of use  |  Privacy