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)
- Drank carbolic acid.
Arbus, Diane (1923-1971)
- 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)
- Hanged himself from a tree in the forest of Meudon, after a Parisian
dealer rejected his paintings.
Borromini, Francesco (1599-1667)
- 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)
- 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,
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)
- 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)
- Leapt to his death in New York City after having been there for one week.
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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
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)
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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- Hanged himself after the deaths of his wife and son.
Réquichot, Bernard (1929-1961)
French painter, collagist and writer
Robert, Louis-Léopold (1794-1835)
- Killed himself in Venice, in front of his easel, on the 10th anniversary of his
Rothko, Mark (1903-1970)
- 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)
- 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)
- Died, two days afterwards, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
Vaughan, Keith (1912-1977)
- Chose to overdose, rather than live with bowel cancer, kidney disease
Watanabe Kazan (1793-1841)
- 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)
- Said to have drowned himself, after his body was discovered in a frozen canal.
Wood, Christopher (1901-1930)
- 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.