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Biography Films of Famous Artists

Updated on January 11, 2015

Movies About Artists

As an artist, and arts appreciator I decided to create this list of Biographical films of Artists. Whether you are an artist yourself or just an arts appreciator there are certain films which should be seen about famous artists. I think that it helps to understand the creator's life in order to better understand and see beyond a pretty picture. In this lens I have compiled a list in no particular order of some films you should check out. Some are excellent while some are okay. No judgement. It's just a resource. Also it's a great way to discover some great artists.

Modern artists

Jean Michel Basquiat - In 1996 Julian Schnabel directed a film biography about the artist who was before his time. Featuring an all star cast, such as Gary Oldman, David Bowie ( as Andy Warhol), Courtney Love (as Madonna), and Dennis Hopper. To those unfamiliar with Basquiat he was a postmodernist/neo expressionist artist who got his start by doing graphiti ( as SAMO), and by meeting other people in the field, such as Warhol. This film focuses mainly on his quick rise to fame, and his death. I found this to be a very good interpretation of his life, and fame.

Pablo Picasso - Same year as the Basquiat film (1996) Surviving Picasso was made. Starring Anthony Hopkins as Picasso, and Julianne Moore. It features Picasso's later years, and up to his death. Pretty much everyone knows who Picasso was, but some may not have known that he was a womanizer and had quite the reputation of seducing his models. He had quite a few children as well.

Jackson Pollock - 2000 the film Pollock debuted starring Ed Harris in the lead role, and with Marcia Gay Harden as Lee Krasner. Val Kilmer appears briefly as De Kooning. This film focuses on his Action painting phase and up to his death.

Frida Kahlo - A film about the Mexican surrealist, which starred Selma Hayek in the lead role was released in 2002. This film "Frida" also starred Ashley Judd, and Antonio Banderas, and Alfred Molina. She was a self taught painter, and was married to another famous painter, Deigo Rivera.

Banksy - Technically he is a post modern artist, but I feel that he deserves a mention here too. If you have not heard of the famed street artist who uses stencils on street walls then you should view "Exit Through The Gift Shop". This film was made in 2010, and was speculated as being a hoax, and a later court case confirmed that it was a legitimate film of Banksy. The film has anonymous interviews with the artist Banksy, and I say anonymous because you never see his face or here his real voice. Also others are interviewed, and his works are showcased. One down side to this film is that the director seems to use this as an excuse to showcase his brothers art.

Andy Warhol - 1996 a film called "I Shot Andy Warhol" was released it was based on the attempted assassination of Andy Warhol by Valerie Solanas. Andy would die twenty years after this after he had a gall bladder operation, and was too weak afterwards due to the previous shooting. More of Andy's life is also featured in the previously mentioned film " Basquiat".

Vincent Van Gogh - 1990 saw the arrival of a film about Van Gogh's tragic life, and his relationship with his brother Theodore who it has been said was his closest friend and the supplier of his paint.

Basquiat Trailer

Scene From Surviving Picasso

Pollock Trailer

Biographical Films on Amazon

Old Masters

Johannes Vermeer- Released in 2004, and starring Scarlet Johansson, as the maid of the Vemeer household in The Girl With A Pearl Earring.

Francisco Goya - Starring Natalie Portman, and Randy Quaid this 2008 film depicts a glance of Goya's life in Goya's Ghost.


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    • takkhisa profile image


      5 years ago

      Great movie selection!

    • rooshoo profile image


      5 years ago

      Cool lens. I love Banksy!

    • sheilamarie78 profile image


      5 years ago from British Columbia

      I'll have to check out a couple of your movie suggestions. Thanks!

    • Jukebox LM profile image

      Jukebox LM 

      5 years ago

      Of all these, I've only seen Frida. Thank you for the other film suggestions!

    • MizzMary profile image


      6 years ago

      These are fine films that are beneficial for helping people to understand and learn about art. I 'like' this lens for sure.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      good lens!


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