Art & History

The Last Paintings Of Famous Artists (Part 1)

The Last Paintings Of Famous Artists (Part 1)

Ever wondered what the last artworks of some of history’s greatest artists looked like? Well if so then you’re in luck because we’ve collected thirty seven final masterpieces from some of the world’s most well-known artists. Here is a first part of this series, we will cover more artist in the upcoming posts!

1 Claude Monet: Water Lilies Murals (1926)

Last Paintings Of Famous Artists

The Grandes Décorations (1920/26) are a collection or murals that comprise Claude Monet’s last works. They depict his beloved water lilies and he painted them when both his eyesight and health were failing. As his sight worsened due to cataracts, his works turned from fresh, bright colors to blurred visions of heavy browns and reds.

#2 Keith Haring: Unfinished Painting (1990)

Keith Allen Haring was an American artist and social activist whose work expressed concepts of birth, death, sexuality, and war. His work was often political, and his style is highly distinctive. One of his last works was finished shortly before the artist died from AIDS-related complications in 1990.

#3 Pablo Picasso’s Last Self-Portrait (1972)

Picasso’s last well-known self portrait is called, somewhat aptly, Self Portrait Facing Death. He drew it with crayon on paper in 1972, less than a year before his death. Picasso worked right up until the day he died, aged 91, painting until 3am on Sunday, April 8th, just hours before he passed away.

#4 Vincent Van Gogh: Tree Roots (1890)

Wheatfield With Crows (1890) is often considered to be Vincent van Gogh’s last work, perhaps because the ominous setting was in fact the place he chose in real life for his final, successful suicide attempt. It is however more likely that his final work was Tree Roots, painted in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, shortly after he left an asylum in Saint-Rémy.

#5 Jean-Michel Basquiat: Riding With Death (1988)

Whether or not Riding With Death (1988) is Jean-Michel Basquiat’s final painting is still up for debate. The work certainly has a morbid quality about it that evokes a sense of an ending, and Basquiat painted it shortly before his own death from a heroin overdose in 1988.

#6 Salvador Dali: The Swallow’s Tail (1983)

Salvador Dali completed his last painting in the spring of 1983. The work is titled Swallows Tail and is the last in a series of paintings he did based on Catastrophe Theory, originated by the French mathematician Rene Thom in the 1960s. Catastrophe theory is a brand of mathematics that studies how small changes in circumstances can lead to sudden shifts in behavior. The painting was Dali’s attempt to represent his understanding of this mathematical theory. Salvador Dali died in 1989, aged 84.

#7 Frida Kahlo: Viva La Vida, Watermelons (1954)

VIVA LA VIDA is Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s last work. She completed it eight days before she died on July 13, 1954, aged 47. The painting is a still life with watermelons, a fruit that is a popular symbol in the Mexican day of the dead (Dia de los Muertos). Watermelons are also a frequent feature in Mexican art. Viva La Vida means “long live life” in Spanish.

#8 Edouard Manet: A Bar At The Folies-Bergère (1882)

Édouard Manet (1832 – 1883) was a French painter. He was one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern life, and a central figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. His last painting was A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (Un bar aux Folies Bergère), which was completed in 1882, just a year before he died after having his foot amputated due to gangrene. It originally belonged to the composer Emmanuel Chabrier, who was Manet’s neighbor, and hung over his piano.

#9 Francis Bacon: Study Of A Bull (1991)

Study of a Bull was completed in 1991 just months before the artist, Francis Bacon, died as a result of chronic asthma. Having spent its life in a very private collection in London, the painting has never been seen publicly. It was discovered when an art historian named Martin Harrison was researching Bacon’s work for the publication of the Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonné.

Last Paintings Famous Artists

Study of a Bull was completed in 1991 just months before the artist, Francis Bacon, died as a result of chronic asthma. Having spent its life in a very private collection in London, the painting has never been seen publicly. It was discovered when an art historian named Martin Harrison was researching Bacon’s work for the publication of the Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonné.

 

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