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Thread: The Last Paintings Of Famous Artists

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    The Last Paintings Of Famous Artists

    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's the list includes work from contemporary artists like Picasso and Matisse to classical masters including Caravaggio and Rafael.



    Claude Monet: Water Lilies Murals (1926)
    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 colours to blurred visions of heavy browns and reds. He wrote letters to friends, how colors were getting dull, and it was hard to tell them apart, and how he had to label tubes of paint. Monet specified that when he died he wanted to be buried like "a local man," adding "“Above all, remember I want neither flowers nor wreaths.

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    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. The painting serves as a poignant statement about a life cut short at the age of thirty-one.

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    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.

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    Jean-Michel Basquiat: Riding With Death (198
    Whether or not Riding With Death (198 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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.
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    Gustav Klimt: The Bride (191
    Gustav Klimt never finished his last painting, titled The Bride (1917/191, but this uncompleted work gives us a fascinating insight into the artist's technique as well as his inner desires. The painting depicts naked women, because Klimt died before he could dress them, but the fact that he first painted his subjects naked before dressing them in clothes reveals the sexual obsession that lay beneath the surface of Klimt's works.

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    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.

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    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. Harrison maintains that Bacon knew that he was close to death when he was working on this particular piece. “Bacon is ready to sign off … he was so ill… He knew exactly what he was doing here," he said.

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    Rembrandt: Simeon With The Christ Child In The Temple, Unfinished (1669)
    This painting by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was found uncompleted in his studio prior to his sudden death aged 63. It now hangs in the National Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. The painting depicts an old man holding an infant, a subject he had painted twice before. The work illustrates a passage from the Gospel of St. Luke, in which Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. The figure in the background was probably painted afterwards by somebody else. Some people think she's Maria, while others say she's the prophetess Anna.

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    Marcel Duchamp: Étant Donnés (1966)
    Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp (1887 – 196 was a French, naturalized American painter, sculptor, chess player and writer whose work is associated with Cubism and conceptual art. Along with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, Duchamp is generally considered as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the twentieth century. His last major work was Étant donnés (1966), which surprised most of the art world who believed he had given up art for competitive chess almost 25 years earlier. He died two years later, suddenly and peacefully, at his home in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

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    Georgia O'Keeffe: The Beyond, Last Unassisted Oil Painting (1972)
    Georgia Totto O'Keeffe was an American artist. She was known for her paintings of New York skyscrapers, enlarged flowers, and New Mexico landscapes. O'Keeffe is often regarded as the "Mother of American modernism." Her eyesight was compromised by macular degeneration in 1972, and this left her with only peripheral vision. This naturally affected her work and she stopped oiling painting without assistance in 1972, although she continued with help thereafter. Her last unassisted oil painting is called The Beyond (1972).

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    Raphael: The Transfiguration (1520)
    Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483 – April 6, 1520) known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period. His last work was The Transfiguration (1520). It was commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de Medici, the later Pope Clement VII (1523–1534), and it can now be found in the Pinacoteca Vaticana in Vatican City.



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    Henri Matisse: La Gerbe, One Of His Last Works (1953)
    French artist Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was a revolutionary and influential painter of the early 20th century, best known for the expressive color and form of his Fauvist style. His last work was Le Gerbe (1953), a piece made from ceramic tile embedded in plaster. It was his only west coast commission and it can be found in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).


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    Rene Magritte: The Empire Of Lights, Unfinished (1967)
    René François Ghislain Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. He is best known for his witty and thought-provoking images. The artist continued to work until the year of his death in 1967, and his final unfinished piece is called The Empire of Lights. The painting had been commissioned by a German collector from Cologne, but he never received the picture, because it remained on the easel of the painter's house in Brussels until the death of his wife Georgette in 1986


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    Caravaggio: Martyrdom Of Saint Ursula (1610)
    Michelangelo Merisi (Michael Angelo Merigi or Amerighi) da Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) was an Italian painter. His work is characterised by a dramatic use of lighting, and he is thought to have had a formative influence on Baroque painting. His last work is thought to be The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula. It is now a part of the Intesa Sanpaolo Collection in the Gallery of Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano, Naples. Caravaggio died in 1610 while on his way to receive a pardon from the Pope for his part in the death of a young man in a duel four years earlier. The circumstances surround his death are unclear, but a fever is the most frequently cited cause.

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    Pieter Bruegel The Elder: Storm At Sea, Unfinished (1569)
    Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569) was a Netherlandish Renaissance painter and printmaker known for his peasant scenes and landscapes. His last work was Storm at Sea, an unfinished oil-on-panel painting depicting ships in the midst of choppy waters. It can be found in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

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    Max Beckmann: The Argonauts (1950)
    German artist Max Bechmann's last work is actually a triptych titled "The Argonauts" (1949-1950). The paintings are a play on a Greek myth that had interested him since he exiled himself to Amsterdam during World War 2. The Argonauts were a band of heroes who, in the years before the Trojan war, traveled with Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Beckmann died suddenly in New York in 1950.


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    Paolo Uccello: Hunt In The Forest (1470)
    Paolo Uccello (1397 – 10 December 1475), born Paolo di Dono, was an Italian painter and a mathematician who was known for his work on visual perspective in art. His best known works are the three paintings representing the battle of San Romano. His final painting was The Hunt in the Forest (1470). It demonstrates the use of perspective in Renaissance art, with the hunt participants disappearing into the dark forest in the distance. It is perhaps the best-known painting in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England.



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