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Famous Artists Who Have Committed Suicide


An alphabetical listing of those dearly departed artists (plus one art historian and one famous patron) who chose to leave this world by their own hands. Attempted suicides and gradual suicides by substance abuse have not been included. Nor will you see here the multitudes of artists who - unknowingly - killed themselves, over time, by licking lead and arsenic off their brushes, or inhaling acid while etching in unventilated rooms.

Whenever possible, methods, motivations and mitigating factors have been included. Hyperlinked names indicate a path to an individual's profile.

Hint: Use Ctrl+F (Windows) or Cmd+F (Mac) to locate an artist in the list more quickly.
    Visual Artists Who Committed Suicide

    Alexander, Henry (ca. 1860-1894)
    American painter
      Drank carbolic acid.

    Arbus, Diane (1923-1971)
    American photographer
      Took a lethal dose of barbiturates and slashed her wrists.


    Gertrude Margaret Lowthian (1868-1926)
    English architectural historian
      Overdosed on sleeping pills in Baghdad.


    Bonvin, Léon (1834-1866)
    French watercolorist
      Hanged himself from a tree in the forest of Meudon, after a Parisian dealer rejected his paintings.


    Borromini, Francesco (1599-1667)
    Italian architect
      Threw himself on a ceremonial sword, then lingered for another 24 hours.


    Bugatti, Rembrandt (1884-1916)
    Italian sculptor and draftsman
      Put on one of his finest suits and gassed himself.


    Bupalos and Athenis (active ca. 540-ca. 537 BC)
    Greek sculptors
      Rumored to have been driven to suicide by the nasty, albeit poetic, written attacks of Hipponax (who apparently didn't like their sculpture of him).


    Carrington, Dora (1893-1932)
    English painter and decorative artist
      Shot herself a few weeks after the death of her companion, Lytton Strachey.


    Cassandre, Adolphe Mouron (1901-1968)
    French painter, designer and typographer

    Crevel, René (1900-1935)
    French Dada and Surrealist poet
      Gassed himself the day before the Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture met in Paris.


    Czigány, Dezsö (1883-1937)
    Hungarian painter
      Committed suicide in a psychotic fit, but not before killing his family.


    Daswanth (active ca. 1560; d 1584)
    Indian miniature painter
      Stabbed himself with a dagger.


    Dayes, Edward (1763-1804)
    English painter, draftsman and printmaker

    Domínguez, Oscar (1906-1957)
    Spanish painter and sculptor

    Doort, Abraham van der (1575/80-1640)
    Dutch wax-modeler, drawing-master and administrator
      Left this world despondent over the thought that he might have misplaced one of Charles I's favorite miniatures.


    Erhard, Johann Chirstoph (1795-1822)
    German painter and printmaker

    Fagan, Robert (1761-1816)
    English painter, archaeologist and dealer
      Jumped out of a window in Rome.


    Frank, Jean-Michel (1895-1941)
    French designer
      Leapt to his death in New York City after having been there for one week. Purely coincidental.


    Fries, Ernst (1801-1833)
    German draftsman, painter and lithographer

      Slit his wrist.


    Gagneraux, Bénigne (1756-1795)
    French painter and engraver
      "Fell" out of a window in Florence.


    Gerstl, Richard (1883-1908)
    Austrian painter and draftsman
      Disemboweled himself with a butcher knife after a brief romantic fling with the wife of the composer Arnold Schoenberg.


    Gertler, Mark (1891-1939)
    English painter
      Tightly sealed up a room and turned on the gas ring.


    Gorky, Arshile (1904-1948)
    Armenian-born American painter
      His studio had burned, his wife had left him, his health was bad and he had no money. He hanged himself.


    Greco, Alberto (1915-1965)
    Argentine painter, sculptor and performance artist
      Overdosed on barbiturates, and left notes about how it felt (for as long as he could, anyway).


    Gros, Baron Jean-Antoine (1771-1835)
    French painter
      Drowned himself in the Seine


    Haydon, Benjamin Robert (1786-1846)
    English painter, teacher and writer
      Shot himself, then cut his throat.


    Hébuterne, Jeanne (1898-1920)
    French painter
      Pregnant with their second child, she leapt from a third-story window two days after her partner, Amedeo Modigliani, died of tuberculosis.


    Johnson, Ray (1927-1995)
    American painter, collagist and performance artist
      Committed "Rayocide" one Friday the 13th by jumping off a Sag Harbor bridge and backstroking away.


    Kahlo, Frida (1907-1954)
    Mexican painter
      We're fairly certain she overdosed on painkillers, though the coroner's report read, "pulmonary embolism."


    Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig (1880-1938)
    German painter, printmaker and sculptor
      Shot himself after the combination of illness and the termination of his career by the National Socialist Party proved too much.


    Kricke, Norbert (1922-1984)
    German sculptor

    Kruyder, Herman (1881-1935)
    Dutch painter and draftsman
      Committed suicide in a psychiatric hospital.


    Kurzweil, Max (1867-1916)
    Austrian painter and printmaker
      On leave from his position as war artist in Istria, he did it in Vienna.


    Lefèvre, Robert-Jacques-François (1755-1830)
    French painter

    Lehmbruck, Wilhelm (1881-1919)
    German sculptor, painter and printmaker

    Lemoyne, François (1688-1737)
    French painter and draftsman

    Lo Savio, Francesco (1935-1963)
    Italian painter and sculptor

    Lombardi, Mark (1951-2000)
    American draftsman
      Hanged himself in his Williamsburg, New York studio.


    Malaval, Robert (1937-1980)
    French painter and sculptor
      Shot himself in the head.


    Maurer, Alfred (1868-1932)
    American painter
      Hanged himself in the doorway of his father's bedroom.


    Mayakovsky, Vladimir (1893-1930)
    Russian poet, playwright and artist
      Shot himself.


    Mayer, Constance (1775-1821)
    French painter
      Cut her throat with the razor of painter Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, who'd been her teacher and then her lover but was not, apparently, going to be her husband.


    Min Yŏng-hwan (1861-1905)
    Korean calligrapher and painter
      Was so strongly opposed to living under the Protection Treaty being enforced by Japan, that he decided not to.


    Minton, John (1917-1957)
    English painter and illustrator
      Took an overdose of Tuinal.


    Nero (AD 37-68)
    Roman art patron and, yes, emperor
      Decided stabbing himself in the neck was preferable to being flogged to death.


    Pascin, Jules (1885-1930)
    American painter, draftsman and printmaker
      Hanged himself in his Paris studio, possibly depressed over the reviews of his current show.


    Pellizza da Volpedo, Giuseppe (1868-1907)
    Italian painter
      Hanged himself after the deaths of his wife and son.


    Réquichot, Bernard (1929-1961)
    French painter, collagist and writer

    Robert, Louis-Léopold (1794-1835)
    Swiss painter
      Killed himself in Venice, in front of his easel, on the 10th anniversary of his brother's suicide.


    Rothko, Mark (1903-1970)
    American painter
      Slit his wrists in his New York studio.


    Sage, Kay (1898-1963)
    American painter and poet

    Seymour, Robert (1800-1836)
    English printmaker and painter
      Shot himself in the garden at his home in Islington.


    Soares dos Reis, António (1847-1889)
    Portuguese sculptor, engraver and teacher

    Soroka, Grigory (1823-1864)
    Russian painter and draftsman

    Staël, Nicolas de (1914-1955)
    French painter
      Jumped out of his studio window in Antibes.


    Stauffer-Bern, Karl (1857-1891)
    Swiss printmaker, painter, sculptor and poet

    Tilson, Henry (?1659-1695)
    English painter and draftsman
      Shot himself through the heart with a pistol over the unrequited love of a wealthy patroness.


    van Gogh, Vincent (1853-1890)
    Dutch painter
      Died, two days afterwards, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.


    Vaughan, Keith (1912-1977)
    English painter
      Chose to overdose, rather than live with bowel cancer, kidney disease and depression.


    Watanabe Kazan (1793-1841)
    Japanese painter
      Committed an honorable suicide after a run in with the Tokugawa shogunate (over its isolationist policies) led to his being under house arrest.


    Witkiewicz, Stanislaw Ignacy (1895-1939)
    Polish writer, art theorist, painter and photographer
      When the Second Army invaded Poland, he tied himself to his lover, fed her poison and slit his wrists. She regained consciousness. Him - no.


    Witte, Emanuel de (1617-1693)
    Dutch painter
      Said to have drowned himself, after his body was discovered in a frozen canal.


    Wood, Christopher (1901-1930)
    English painter
      Stepped in front of a train.


    Xue Ji (AD 649-713)
    Chinese calligrapher and scholar-official
      Forced to commit suicide after somehow becoming embroiled in a plot to poison the new emperor.
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