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Recently a painting by Ernst Klimt was confused for the artwork of his more famous brother, Gustav. Austrian media excitedly reported that an early work by the acclaimed painter of the Vienna Secession movement, Gustav Klimt, was found in a garage. Art dealer Josef Renz bought the painting of a trumpet-playing cherub, titled Trumpeting Putto and prepared to sell it at auction for a pretty price.
Meanwhile, art historian and Klimt expert Alfred Weidinger contested Renz’s claim, recognizing the painting as an early work by Ernst Klimt who died decades before his brother. "This work has been floating around since the 1960s, and repeatedly attempts have been made to have it recognised as one of Klimt's, especially in this, the 150th anniversary of his birth," Weidinger explained, "But in research into the catalogue of paintings he produced, studies for this painting made by Ernst Klimt have been found."
The painting once hung in the building where the two brothers shared a studio (Gustav's last studio pictured above), often working together in their early years as artists. Artistic genes ran in the family of many iconic artists, although we hardly speak of the artwork of the lesser-known relatives who often provided great influence. Investigating these close relationships, sometimes finding drama of love triangles and jealousy, MutualArt presents the list:
10 Artistic Relatives of Famous Artists
Gustav Klimt’s younger brother, Ernst Klimt (1864 - 1892)
Ernst and Gustav came from an artistic family, with an engraver father and musician sister. Gustav began his career working with Ernst and their friend Franz Matsch comprising a team they called the "Company of Artists" which painted murals in prominent public buildings in Vienna. Because of his early death, works by Ernst Klimt are very rare, although the large painting “Before the Wedding” in the Austrian Gallery shows his English Pre-Raphaelite influenced style (pictured left).
Jackson Pollock’s older brother, Charles Pollock, (1902 - 1988)
While Jackson Pollock led the abstract expressionist movement with his drip painting, his older brother Charles Pollack was a social realist painter, inspired by artists like Jose Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera. Charles worked with Ben Shahn during the Great Depression as a WPA mural painter, and later his artwork also transitioned into abstract expressionism (pictured right), although his calm orderly paintings greatly differ from those of his brother.
Monet’s stepdaughter & daughter-in-law, Blanche Monet (1865 - 1947)
A relationship difficult to stomach, Claude’s second wife was Blanche’s mother, and later Blanche married Claude’s son. From the young age of 11, Blanche was infatuated by painting and Claude himself, often working in his studio with easels side by side, painting the same subject matter sharing the same color palette. For this reason, Blanche’s work is practically indistinguishable from Claude’s, and is included in the permanent collections of several museums in France.
Suzanne Duchamp was a painter living in Montparnasse to be near her brother Marcel, famous for his dada, surrealist and ready-made work. She studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, with her early work reflecting Impressionism and Cubism, later evolving into Dadism (pictured right). Suzanne’s work is included in the collections of MoMA and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Continuing in his father’s footsteps, Alexandre Fragonard was first trained by Jean-Honoré and later by Jacques-Louis David, attracting a great deal of attention from a young age. Alexandre debuted at the Salon of 1793 at the ripe age of 13, and continued a successful career as a painter, sculptor and draftsman with an allegorical, neoclassical style (pictured left).
John Constable's son, Lionel Constable (1828 - 1887)
Five out of seven of John Constable’s children were artistic, yet Lionel’s talent stands out. Learning landscape painting from his father (pictured right), many of Lionel’s paintings have been mistakenly attributed to John. Although their work is similar, Lionel paints more thinly and delicately than his father, resulting in work more decorative.
Edward Hopper’s wife, Josephine Hopper (1883 – 1968)
More than his wife, Josephine was also Edward’s muse. A talented artist herself, Josephine influenced his subject matter, inspired him to take up watercolors and modeled for most of his paintings, including the famous Nighthawks. Her drawings and paintings (pictured left) can be found in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Pablo Picasso’s father, José Ruiz Blasco (1838 - 1913)
José Ruiz Blasco was a painter (pictured right) and art professor in Spain. Jose gave son Pablo his first art lessons, teaching Pablo to draw and oil paint in the traditional method of realism. When at age 13 Pablo’s talent surpassed his father’s, Jose gave his son his brush and palette and vowed to never paint again. Pablo also studied at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona where his father taught.
Yves Klein’s mother, Marie Raymond Klein (1908 - 1988)
Marie Raymond Klein was an abstract painter (pictured left), married to a figurative painter Fred Klein, and mother of Yves Klein. Influenced profoundly by his mother, Yves and Marie both were interested in the spiritual dimension of space and sometimes exhibited together. Marie was a leading figure of the Art Informel movement in France in the 1950s.
Paul Gauguin’s son, Emile Gauguin (1899 - 1980)
Paul Gauguin fathered a son, Emile, with a Tahitian woman named Tehura. Emile attempted painting (pictured right), and later a journalist brought him to Chicago to live and take lessons from an artist couple. Mostly Emile tried to capitalize off his father’s fame, living as a tourist attraction and posing for photographs in Tahititi as the “Son of Gauguin.” Neither Emile nor his mother Tehura own any paintings by Paul.
Written by MutualArt's Christine Bednarz
Do you think Art Dealer Josef Renz is trying to make a buck or doesn't know the difference between the brothers' work?Which pair of relatives exhibit the most influence? Which artist relative was the most successful? The least? Do you know of other artistic relatives of famous artists?
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