Plenty of artists lived in the solitude of their worlds, ones they created only for themselves. But even in their isolation, artists have the inevitable desire to create essential relationships with others for artistic inspiration and social duties. A lot of these relationships happen to be between two artists of the same caliber, and in their individual careers, these artists used each other as subjects for their work. Below is a list of the most famous of these paintings:  

Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin:

Van Gogh and Gauguin’s relationship is still a controversial topic between art fanatics to this day. Their relationship influenced their artistic growth to the point that lead Gauguin to feature Van Gogh in his work several times. The most important piece was the one with Vincent painting the infamous Sunflower piece. It was later the cause of a big argument that ended their friendship brutally.

Gauguin, “The Painter of Sunflowers”, oil on canvas, 73 x 91 cm, 1888

Claude Monet and John Sargent:

Monet and Sargent’s friendship bloomed when Sargent purchased four works by Monet and introduced them to the English public. Sargent was so captivated by Monet’s work and fascination with nature. that he painted a portrait of Monet at work on his painting “Meadow with Haystacks near Giverny” where he was sitting in an actual meadow with his wife patiently sitting behind him keeping him company. Until this day, it is the clearest portrait of Monet’s love for nature.

Sargent, “Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood”, oil on canvas, 54 x 64.8 cm, 1885

Man Ray and Lee Miller and Marcel Duchamp:

Man Ray is one to be very famous of his Modern portraits of other artists. He highlighted his fellow artists, everyone from Salvador Dali, Hemingway, Marcel Duchamp, and even the Model Lee miller on film rolls. The portrait of Lee miller is a precise example of what Ray’s style as a photographer was with portraits; modern, unique, and bold. On the other hand, his portrait of Marcel Duchamp successfully shows Ray’s humor and openness that he so gracefully portrayed on camera.

Man Ray, “Lee Miller”, 1929
Man Ray, “Marcel Duchamp”, 1921

Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat:

The collaboration between the famous Warhol and the young and rebellious Jean-Michel Basquiat was the most fascinating friendship to the public of the late 20th century. It started with the painting Basquiat made of the polaroid picture Warhol had took of him on the night they met. The painting was spontaneous, fascinating and full of admiration from one artist to the other. It later turned to a multi-million dollar masterpiece called “Dos Cabezas.” To which Andy Commented “I am really jealous-he is faster than me.” Both artists continued painting portraits of each other, back and forth, nurturing their work and creativity, until the public condemned it with their rumors. It went around that Andy had used the youth and fame of Jean which caused a very brutal and devastating end to their relationship.  

Basquiat, “Dos Cabezas”, acrylic and oil stick on canvas with wood supports, 151.8 x 153.7 cm, 1982

Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon:

Frued and Bacon are regarded as two of the most revolutionising artists of the mid-late 20th century. Their fascinating friendship withstood everyone’s expectations, and it grew stronger regardless of the many fights and disagreements the artists found themselves in. They both paid homage to the other in their work. While Freud’s work was more intimate and realistic, Bacon’s style was impulsive and resembled his physiological point of view. Bacon’s “Three Studies if Lucian Freud” was at some point the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. It was the piece of art that later caused the bitter end of the relationship. But even after the breakup, both still admired each other’s work. Freud said of a Bacon canvas hung on top of his bed that “I’ve been looking at it for a long time now, and it doesn’t get worse. It really is extraordinary.”

Freud, “Francis Bacon”, oil on canvas, 17.8 x 12.7 cm, 1952
Bacon, “Three Studies of of Lucian Freud” triptych, oil on canvas, 198x147.5 cm (for each canvas), 1969
Bacon, “Three Studies for Portrait of Lucian Freud”, oil on canvas, 35.5 x 30.5 cm, 1965