Two Halves Make
Creative people are restless. That makes them great lovers but hopeless long term partners. So its no surprise that many of our greatest artists have more than one partner,many have had relationships that end in tears but many have great affairs which produce amazing works of art. No more so in the great inter war years when the surreal became king and the king reading his script. abdicated.
All a way of introducing “ Modern Couples-Art Intimacy and the Avant Guarde” the art show at the Barbican. Forty six stories of couples who made art,love,fireworks and headlines. Some you know like Leonard and Virginia Woolf and she again with Vita Sackville West. Some not so well known like Lorca and Dali, some you have never heard of like the stepsisters Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore.Those last two were so dyke that they changed their names!
Lee Miller is a Vogue cover girl. She turns up in Paris and tells Man Ray she is joining him on a trip to Biarritz. She became his lover and student. Soon she is as good a photographer as her lover. She shows him how to turn his photos into immortal art. She leaves him. Becomes a star in her own right but few remember her contribution to Man Ray’s output. Colette was not the only star to have her work and reputation stolen.This is the way it goes.
The story of Gabriele Münter delivers a warning to creative women: get too close to a talented man and his craving for glory will blot you out. Münter was Wassily Kandinsky’s partner on the front lines of the avant-garde, and at times their paintings can hardly be told apart. But she was pegged early on as his student and lover, rather than his peer. After their relationship ended he went on to worldwide renown, and she stopped painting for almost a decade. “In the eyes of many, I was only an unnecessary side-dish to Kandinsky,” she recalled. “It is all too easily forgotten that a woman can be a creative artist with a real, original talent of her own.
Sure there are the great Russian partnerships that last the decades. And the ones you know like Frida and Diego-her dad called their marriage a union between a dove and an elephant. But what art ,what a story. Thats what they all have ,a story and some. These are not boy meets girl, boy meets boy, girl meets girl stories but events where someone lights a fuse and neither steps back.