Of the many freedoms we enjoy in modern society, none is more intoxicating or socially disruptive than the possibility that there might be alternatives to traditional marriage, and no one has shown us how to use this freedom better than the celebrities and artists whose unconventional relationships were evidence of creativity and individuality. But what do their stories tell us? What does the work of art do for an artist as a lover? And how do an artists’ affairs both emerge from and influence their creativity?The Love Lives of the Artists tells the stories of artists who saw the open relationship as the fulfillment of their art. Certainly, some used their open relationships to torture themselves and others; but some were able to ‘put up with a good deal of contradictory nonsense, ‘ as Georgia O’Keeffe put it–suffering nervous breakdowns or drug and alcohol addictions, along with jealous torments–in order to preserve creative connections to what seemed ‘clear and bright and wonderful’ in their artist lovers. In this engrossing examination, Daniel Bullen sheds light on the love lives of Lou Andreas-Salome and Rainer Maria Rilke; Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe; Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir; Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and Henry Miller and Anais Nin. Following these artists through their artistic development–from their early relationships to their commitments and subsequent affairs–we can see their relationships as rebellions against modern culture and bourgeois morality, but they also show us the rare fulfillment of creative freedom and shared understanding.
The Love Lives of the Artists
Five Stories of Creative Intimacy
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Daniel Bullen grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and earned a Ph.D. in American literature before writing The Love Lives of the Artists, his first book. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.