11 Lovely Vintage Photos of Famous Artist Couples


Following the wedding season-fueled momentum of seeing famous authors and famous musicians in love, it’s time to tap into the equally rich vein of young, occasionally happy artist couples. In some cases, the photos below are as memorable and picturesque as the art these duos made. Art nerd couples, in particular, should take note; your search for the perfect Halloween costume may be over.

Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning

Dorothea Tanning arrived at the study of Max Ernst, a man 19 years her senior, in 1942. They played chess, traveled together, and eventually were married in a double wedding with Man Ray and Juliet Browner (who you’ll see below) in 1946.

[Image via Just Under the Surface]

Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock

In a time when neither artist was a darling of critics or gallery systems, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock were particularly copacetic. The house and studio they shared in East Hampton, New York is now a museum.

[Image via Vanity Fair ]

Jeanne-Claude and Christo

[Image via Geneva Anderson]

Four years after the death of his lifelong creative partner Jeanne-Claude, Christo is busy pursuing a characteristically ambitious mega-sculpture involving a set of fabric panels over the Arkansas River in Colorado, where he says the couple first fell in love.

Françoise Gilot and Pablo Picasso

[Image via The New Yorker]

For better or worse, the painter Françoise Gilot is best known as the only partner of Pablo Picasso’s who could put up with his shit without going insane. The slings and arrows of their relationship were immortalized (also for better or for worse) in the 1996 film Surviving Picasso, starring Anthony Hopkins and Natascha McElhone.

Rem Koolhaas and Madelon Vriesendorp

[Image via Hand Eye Supply]

Perhaps the design world’s coolest living couple, Rem Koolhaas and Madelon Vriesendorp co-founded the Office for Metropolitan Architecture together in 1975, where they collaborated on such projects as the Seattle Central Library and the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin.

Elaine and Willem de Kooning

[Image via Kat Thorsen]

The de Koonings lived out in Southampton in the later years, technically making them neighbors in Eastern Long Island to fellow Abstract Expressionist power pair Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock.

Their partnership ended somewhat tragically. In February 1989, having suffered for months from lung cancer, Elaine passed away. Because he was showing signs of dementia, it is uncertain whether Willem comprehended his wife’s passing until it was explained to him by friends the following summer.

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo

[Image via MoMA.org]

This one just wasn’t meant to stick. Whereas Kahlo counted multiple partners on her resume (including Marcel Duchamp and André Breton), Rivera was a notorious philanderer with a long marriage record, and at least one illegitimate child. He was still married when he met Kahlo, a student of his who was also 20 years his junior, and they actually married twice: first in 1929, before divorcing in 1939 and re-partnering in 1940.

Charles and Ray Eames

[Image The New York Times]

On the other end of the sweetness spectrum was the life and marriage of Charles and Ray Eames, which, beginning in 1940, lasted remarkably long, and gave fruit to some of the most memorable works in the canon of 20th-century architecture and design. Among their shared credits are the St. Louis Post-Dispatch model home, the Sweetzer house, and the reclining Eames chair.

Ansel Adams and Virginia Best

[Image via Ansel Photography]

Ansel Adams married Virginia Best in Best’s studio in 1928. Best had trained seriously to be a classical singer before she met Adams, and was forced to give up her ambitions after they met and were married.

Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz

[Image via Save The Artist]

As with many avant-garde power couples, the partnership of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz was marked by a serious age difference. Twenty-three years her senior, Stieglitz was still married when he first invited O’Keeffe to exhibit work at his gallery in New York in 1916. Even after they had shacked up at his house upstate, Stieglitz’s divorce wasn’t finalized until 1924. They finally tied the knot a few months later.

Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter

[Image via Vebidoo.de]

Münter’s contributions to Kandinsky’s paintings are hard to pin down, and at least one arrived in the form of an accident. In one story, while painting his iconic Composition IV (1911), Kandinsky went out for a walk, and allowed Münter to tidy up the studio, who moved the canvas onto one side. Not immediately recognizing it when he returned, Kandinsky burst into tears and declared it was a masterpiece.