Artists and Family Life


Armand Cabrera



Today is Father’s Day — which got me thinking about artists and most of the professional artists I know that don’t have children. Maybe it’s the difficulty of becoming a professional artist in the first place. Is it the lack of a steady well-paying income for most artists? The delay of success when and if it finally does come compared to other professional careers could be the main issue but there is something about being an artist and especially a gallery artist that keeps them from having families.
Commercial art seems to be different, maybe because of the more reliable pay it lends itself to more normal choices than gallery work. It is not just the men I know; many of the professional women artists too are childless. All of which makes one wonder what it is about choosing art as a career that keeps people from starting a traditional family.
Of course there are always exceptions to the trend and there are artists both male and female who do have children and just like individuals in the rest of society, some of them are better at being parents then others are.  Most of the time it seems that artists that marry spouses that support their choice to be artists and have a steady highly paid professional career increase the opportunity to provide a better chance for family life than artists who marry or partner with other artists.
Some famous artists that remained childless:
Leonardo Da Vinci
Nicholas Poussin
Albrecht Durer
Rosa Bonheur
John Singer Sargent
Cecilia Beaux
Edgar Degas
Mary Cassatt
Winslow Homer
Thomas Eakins
Edward Henry Pothast
Elizabeth Shippen Green
Guy Rose
Grace Carpenter Hudson
Kate Greenaway
Georgia O’keefe
Jackson Pollock

1 thought on “Artists and Family Life

  1. Interesting the two illustrators you chose to show in this post both failed in their family lives; Rockwell was too busy, and that left an indelible negative memory for his sons (read the latest bio on him) I think he tried though. I will always remember reading his first wife's letter to her mother and how excited she was that Norman had been exploring a new style that was going to save him a lot of time, Unfortunately his long-standing client, the Saturday Evening Post didn't want a new look from him. You can read what happened to his wife after that…sad. Dean Cornwell who remained a married-single (also too busy) had a less-than faithful life style at his NY studio/apartment… Your passion can get in the way with other responsibilities, so my advice if you're an artist is to consider thoughtfully before you plan a family…my wife & I did and although it is a struggle at times on my income, it is so worth the joy raising children can be. On the other hand, it's not for every artist — and it's not an obligation either, but do consider getting your career as secure as possible before expanding your family…

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