The Love Lives of the Artists

Five Stories of Creative Intimacy

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Book Description

As the oldest of institutions, marriage seems outdated in modern times, when each individual is encouraged to break with tradition in order to fulfill him– or herself. And so artists like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo seem to be paving the way toward a brave, new kind of marriage, where spouses would be allowed—even encouraged—to fulfill different aspects of themselves in outside relationships. Shared creativity, they believed, would transcend their jealousies and compensate their sufferings: through art, they would rise above conventional marital fidelity, and prove a higher fidelity to art and to themselves.

The Love Lives of the Artists tells the stories of Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas–Salomé, Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe, Jean–Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Diego and Frida, and Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin—five couples who approached their relationships with the same rebellious creativity as they practiced in their art. From their early artistic development and their first experiences in love, to their artistic marriages and their affairs—and then to their fights and reconciliations, addictions, nervous breakdowns and continued creativity—The Love Lives of the Artists describes the promise and the price of freedom and creativity in love.

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Praise For This Book

Praise for The Love Lives of the Artists

"A captivating exploration of artists seeking personal happiness amid the turmoil of professional success." —Kirkus

"If you happen to enjoy, say, Kahlo's paintings or admire Steiglitz's work with artists in his galleries and Camera Work, and are curious to learn about their personal lives, this is a handily informative book. On the other hand, if you know nothing at all about any of these artists but are interested in love relationships between artists in general, this book is likewise informative and worth your while." —Patrick James Dunagan,

"Bullen tells these stories with cool passion: Just the facts, ma'am, but the facts are plenty fascinating . . . Bullen concentrates on the aftermaths of those meetings, and the inspirations and wreckage that ensued. He reports scrupulously and writes well, and hints only briefly at his own feelings about his artists' actions and moral decisions. As a result, he's created a kind of moral mirror, allowing readers to see bits of themselves, or at least bits of their own attitudes, in what they read." —Bob Hicks,

"In The Love Lives of the Artists, Daniel Bullen examines the intersection of art and amorous love in the affairs of five artistic couples who had open relationships at a time when the sanctity of marriage, as an institution, adhered to more conventional expectations. Artistic and erotic freedom is at the core of this complex, philosophically insightful book." —Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

"This is a fascinating book, addressing the intricate subject of intimacy, Eros, and creativity. Where is the muse and who is the muse when art is being produced? And what is the price for passion that fuels inspiration? This exploration into the love lives of artists will open endless conversations among creators, partners, and lovers, as well as readers and voyeurs!" —Jan Freeman, Editor, Paris Press

"Bullen tells these fascinating stories with relish and with a remarkably balanced eye. He speaks to our modern ambivalence about marriage and monogamy by tracing its cultural roots across a century, as expressed—and creatively addressed—by five exceptional artist–lovers. An important addition to the conversation about the viability of various alternatives to monogamy." —Suzanne Benack, Professor of Psychology, Union College

"Bullen describes, in clear, concise prose, the spoken, unspoken and bespoke romantic lives of five famous and famously articulate couples, whose marriages were as open as their minds, and as receptive to new passions. Their exceptional passions transcend what marriage was then, or is now, to serve as examples, in extremis, by which we might measure ourselves. A first class book and a fascinating read." –Pete Nelson, author of I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story

"The amours of some of our greatest artists are explored here with balance and understanding. Bullen takes a serious look at both the beauty and the wreckage that results from the artist's sense of exceptionalism, and transports us into the bedrooms and the ambitions of these titanic artist–couples. Totally engrossing." –Amity Gaige, author of The Folded World and O My Darling

"Bullen draws from life the lines of force that animate creative love and creative work." –Cary Tennis, author of Since You Asked: The Best of's Cary Tennis