'Bryan's writing pops and zings like a Basquiat painting - and reminds us why truly great artists are immortal.' - Noel Fielding
'Bright Stars is a compelling reflection on the concept of legacy. Bryan's wide ranging assessment of artists we lost too soon proves that longevity in art is rewarded to the stars that burn the brightest, however fleeting their lives and careers.' - Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate
Some of the world's greatest and most-loved artists died under the age of forty. But how did they turn relatively short careers into such long legacies? What drove them to create, against all the odds? And how can we use these stories to re-evaluate artists lost to the shadows, or whose legacies are not yet secured? In Bright Stars, Kate Bryan examines the lives and legacies of 30 great artists who died too young. Most artists have decades to hone their craft, persuade unimpressed critics and build their reputation, but that's not the case for the artists in this book. In some cases, such as with Vincent van Gogh and Jean-Michel Basquiat, their deaths have been mythologised, playing a key role in their posthumous fame. Others were driven to create knowing their time was limited, such as with Aubrey Beardsley and Noah Davis. For some artists, their early death also meant being written out of the history books, as was the case for Charlotte Salomon and Pauline Boty. And as history goes to show, it can take centuries for forgotten artists to be championed and given the recognition they deserve - as was the case with Caravaggio and Vermeer. 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.