Henri Matisse, The Heart (Le Coeur) from Jazz. 1947. One from a portfolio of 20 pochoirs, composition (irreg.): 14 13/16 × 24" (37.7 × 61 cm); sheet: 16 9/16 × 25 11/16" (42.1 × 65.3 cm). Publisher: Tériade, Paris. Printer: Edmond Vairel, Paris, Draeger Frères, Paris. Edition: 100. Gift of the artist. © 2020 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Must Love Art

Valentine’s Day vignettes highlight sweet, tragic, and inspiring love stories from art history.
Natasha Giliberti Feb 14, 2020

Walk into any drugstore this week, and you might assume that love is all about teddy bears, pink greeting cards, and stale chocolate. But as we discovered in the process of making this podcast, love can be complicated, messy, and inspiring—and has shaped the history of art more than we knew. In this episode of the Magazine podcast, we’re bringing love stories to light—modern art Valentines that refuse easy drugstore sentiment. From Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, who “felt magnified” by one another as struggling young artists in New York; to a recent love story sparked at the Museum; to Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who found that love could conquer fate and even death, these stories prove that love can mean many things, and each definition can affect the way we make, view, and understand art.

Chapter One: Love and Friendship
Roxana Marcoci on Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith

Robert Mapplethorpe and Bob Heimall. Album cover for Patti Smith’s Horses. 1975

Robert Mapplethorpe and Bob Heimall. Album cover for Patti Smith’s Horses. 1975

Chapter Two: Love and Collaboration
Evangelos Kotsioris on Charles and Ray Eames

Charles Eames, Ray Eames, Dorothy Shaver, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr, at the MoMA exhibition Good Design, November 21, 1950–January 28, 1951

Charles Eames, Ray Eames, Dorothy Shaver, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr, at the MoMA exhibition Good Design, November 21, 1950–January 28, 1951

Chapter Three: Love and Time
Stuart Comer on Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Felix Gonzales Torres. “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers). 1991

Felix Gonzales Torres. “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers). 1991

Chapter Four: Love and Change
Leah Dickerman on Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight

Jacob Lawrence and Gwen Knight at a reception for the MoMA exhibition The Artist as Adversary, 1971

Jacob Lawrence and Gwen Knight at a reception for the MoMA exhibition The Artist as Adversary, 1971

Chapter Five: Love and Legacy
Anne Umland on Sophie Taeuber and Hans Arp

Sophie Taeuber and Hans Arp with puppets for König Hirsch (King Stag), by Carlo Gozzi, Zürich, 1918

Sophie Taeuber and Hans Arp with puppets for König Hirsch (King Stag), by Carlo Gozzi, Zürich, 1918

Chapter Six: Love and Resistance
Tirza True Latimer on Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore

Photographs by Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore as pictured in a still from Barbara Hammer. Lover Other: The Story of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. 2006

Photographs by Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore as pictured in a still from Barbara Hammer. Lover Other: The Story of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. 2006