In Bright Stars, Kate Bryan examines the short lives and long legacies of artists who died before their time. In this personal, persuasive and evocative book, Kate introduces some of the most inspiring people in art and examines the myriad ways that death can affect the course of art history.
Most artists have decades to hone their craft, win over the critics and forge their reputation, but that's not the case for the artists in this book. Art heavyweights Vincent van Gogh and Jean-Michel Basquiat have been mythologised by their early deaths, playing a key role in their posthumous fame. Others, such as Aubrey Beardsley and Noah Davis, were driven to create, knowing their time was limited. For some, premature death, compounded by gender and racial injustice, meant being left out of the history books - as was the case with Amrita Sher-Gil, Charlotte Salomon and Pauline Boty, now championed by Kate Bryan in this important re-appraisal. And, as Caravaggio and Vermeer's stories show us, it can take centuries for forgotten artists to be given the recognition they truly deserve.
With each artist comes a unique and often surprising story about how lives full of talent and tragedy were turned into brilliant legacies that still influence and inspire us today. This is a celebration of talent so great it shines on.
Kate Bryan is an arts broadcaster, curator, mentor and writer. She is Head of Collections for Soho House & Co. globally and has written and presented television programmes for Sky Arts, Sky Arte Italia, BBC Two and BBC Four. She is a judge on the annual Sky Arts competition programmes Portrait Artist of the Year and Landscape Artist of the Year, and the author of The Art of Love (White Lion Publishing, 2019).