Now Reading
7 iconic LGBTI artists whose work you need to see before you die

7 iconic LGBTI artists whose work you need to see before you die

Francis Bacon's Head VI and Frida Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Monkey

1 Frida Kahlo

‘I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality’

Frida was born in Mexico in 1907. She became a painter after a near-fatal car accident at the age of 18.

The art icon was bisexual, and became famous for her strange, striking self-portraits as well as her ornate personal style.

Frida died of a pulmonary embolism in 1954 at the age of 47.

In 2002, she was the subject of an Oscar-winning biopic starring Salma Hayek

2 David Hockney

‘The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you’re an artist’

Born in Yorkshire in 1937, David Hockney is one of the most celebrated artists working the earth today.

The 80-year-old, who has been open about his sexuality throughout much of his career and has lived in LA for most of his life, often utilizes themes of sexuality in his work. In more recent years, he’s caused an artistic sensation with his series of epic landscapes created on iPads.

He was recently the subject of a record-breaking retrospective at the Tate Britain.

3 Andy Warhol

‘An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have’

Born in Pittsburgh in 1928, Andy Warhol is remembered for pioneering the pop art movement. He also utilized celebrity into his work: his subjects included Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Harry.

Warhol experimented endlessly with silk-screen printing, photography and film.

However, he occasionally delved into painting and illustration, often using his fingers rather than a paintbrush or pencil. These works are now among the most expensive on the market.

4 Francis Bacon

‘The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery’

Francis Bacon was born in Dublin to an English family in October 1909, and moved between England and Ireland often throughout his childhood.

His childhood was blighted by asthma. At 17, he was thrown out of the family home by his father for wearing his mother’s clothes and for his burgeoning homosexuality.

He translated his emotional hardships into his work, and became world-renowned as a painter of bizarre, grotesquely beautiful figures and scenes. He died of a heart attack in 1992.

5 Keith Haring

‘See, when I paint, it is an experience that, at its best, is transcending reality’

Keith was born in May 1958 in New York City. A pioneer of the graffiti movement, his murals and sculptures can be found dotted around the Big Apple. (Including a NSFW bathroom mural at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center).

His colorful dancing figures are synonymous with the 80s, and his larger output often took on fiercely political and sexual themes.

Haring died in February 1990 at the age of 31 of AIDS-related complications.



6 Gilbert & George

‘Everyone said we wouldn’t last’

Gilbert & George have been romantic and professional partners for 50 years, ever since meeting at St Martin’s School of Art in 1967.

Gilbert was born in 1943 in San Martin de Tor, Italy, while George was born in Plymouth in 1942, making them 73 and 75 respectively.

Their colourful, conceptual and always contemporary body of work has shocked the establishment and compelled art lovers for decades – not least their depictions of urine, sperm and penises!

7 Maggi Hambling

‘My studio is a torture chamber’

Hambling was born in Suffolk in 1945. The painter and sculptor, who has spoken openly of her romances with women, is perhaps best known for her recreation of Oscar Wilde in Central London.

Another of her important pieces is the giant Scallop sculpture on a beach in her home county, a tribute to the late gay composer Benjamin Britten, while some of her most gorgeous work to date looks at stormy, wild seascapes.