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Detail of “Visualising Painter’s” Lives by Accurat (all images courtesy Accurat)

At about the same time Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock was losing himself to depression, Matisse’s longterm relationship with his wife was unwinding, and when Mondrian was discovering Cubism, Miró was delving into Surrealism. All these little landmarks of 10 abstract painters’ lives have been charted into infographic form, so you can contrast the timelines of what it takes to be an artist.

The infographics, part of a project called “Visualising Painters’ Lives,” were made by the Milan-based design agency Accurat under the direction of Giorgia Lupi and Michela Buttignol. They’ve also mapped “geographies of time” by social media use and created a visual data column for La Lettura.

“The painters’ selection was arbitrary,” the creators explained to Hyperallergic. “We selected 10 we found more materials about, almost contemporary as a time span, and sharing the same influences. We selected abstract painters because our attempt was to ‘abstract’ shapes and elements we could re-use as symbols to build the visualization with.”

All 10 timelines together (click to view larger)

On each of the painter’s individual charts these begin with a sort of logo compiled from their iconic shapes, as well as their hand usage and zodiac sign, and then sprawl out into travels, acquaintances with the influential, awards, important exhibitions, and color charts of their styles, major works, and controversies, making it more than just a timeline, although like a timeline it does culminate in their ultimate death with a tiny black cross. Each of the 10 artists has their own symbolism used to mark acquaintances or other details, such as some crossed gold mobile lines for Miró and black splatters of paint for Pollock, and their color palette shifts as the years and art periods tick by.

Where they are all layered together on a “visual index page,” you can really see the breadth of their careers, with Pollock’s shockingly short in comparison to Picasso, or the wealth of love affairs, where Picasso again wins and Mondrian goes forward unattached. A woman named Lily Stumpf also appears as a love interest for both Klee and Kandinsky, and you can even compare traveling and see Matisse rambling from all over from Paris to London to Morocco to Russia to the United States.

Here are excerpts from each of the 10 artist’s infographic lives:

Pollock’s infographic (click to view larger)

Pollock’s early life troubles, including the death of his father and battles with depression, although then he gets to meet Lee Krasner

Picasso’s life (click to view larger)

Picasso’s numerous love affairs

Miró’s life (click here to view larger)

Miro’s impressive acquaintances

Mondrian’s life (click to view larger)

Mondrian getting his start, along with his influences

Klee’s life (click to view larger)

Chronicle of Klee’s art periods, major works, and color palette

Boccioni’s life (click to view larger)

Boccioni’s art career, cut short by his death in WWI

Kandinsky’s life (click to view larger)

Kandinsky was right handed, and a Sagittarius

Klimt’s life (click to view larger)

Detail of Klimt’s life, where his works were criticized as pornographic

Dalí’s life (click to view larger)

Dalí tries out all the art movements

Matisse’s life (click to view larger)

Matisse’s busy travels and crossing love affairs

View all of Accurat’s “Visualising Painters’ Lives” infographics on their Flickr.

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Allison Meier

Allison C. Meier is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Oklahoma, she has been covering visual culture and overlooked history for print...

5 replies on “10 Painters’ Lives Chronicled as Infographics”

  1. Why are they all men? Arbitrary selection strikes me as an irresponsible rationale at best.

  2. I see them as artists, not “European”, “white”, or “men”. It just so happens that their lives are well-recorded. If you want any other artist that has a well-recorded life, why not bring it up to whoever made this to create a timeline infographic for them?

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