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Love Lives of the Artists

Five Stories of Creative Intimacy

List Price: $16.95

February 12, 2013 | Paperback | 5.8 x 8.8, 336 Pages | ISBN 9781619021006
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"A captivating exploration of artists seeking personal happiness amid the turmoil of professional success." —Kirkus

Every stirring artwork creates a certain fascination with its creator: how could someone make such a thing, we want to know. For the great artists, who devoted their entire lives to art, we want to know everything we can about their day-to-day lives, as if we could find there some telling evidence about the nature of creativity. We want to know the mundane details—how did they make money, and manage a household?—but we really want to know the most intimate stories: How did they find artistic spouses, and how did their marriages accommodate their creativity?

Drawing from the artists’ letters and journals, The Love Lives of the Artists, tells the stories of Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé, Stieglitz and O’Keeffe, Sartre and 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, nervous breakdowns and further creativity—Love Lives describes the promise and the price of using creativity in love.

DANIEL BULLEN grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and took a Ph.D. in American literature before writing The Love Lives of the Artists, his first book. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.


“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.” —

“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.” —

“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.” —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 of 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

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