June 2006 – ARTnews |

ARTnews Magazine CoverErnst Klimt, Diego Giacometti, and Hans Durer are some of the lesser-known siblings of major artists–but after years of languishing in obscurity, their work is finally being shown.

In “Family Affairs: Brothers and Sisters in Art,” organized by Haus der Kunst in Munich and on view at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels from the 14 th of this month through September 10, curator Leon Krempel considers the influence of siblings on an artist’s development.   Drawing on artworks from 54 families, he tests the theory put forth in Frank J. Sulloway’s 1996 book, Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics and Creative Lives: later-born children are more likely to take risks than are their older counterparts.

Beginning with saints Harlinde and Relinde in the eighth century, Krempel assembled collaborative pieces and works by different siblings to prove that creativity is enhanced by brothers and sisters making art together–even if the results are not the same quality.   “If you look at the two paintings of the same harbor scene done by the Dufy brothers,” says Krempel, “it’s clear that Jean just isn’t as good” as Raoul.

But it is Marcel Duchamp, he adds, who best illustrates the “born to rebel” theory. His younger sister Suzanne, was a painter, and his two older brothers, Gaston and Raymond Duchamp-Villon, were established members of the Parisian avant-garde. “There was not so much left for Marcel to do,” says Krempel, “so that’s probably why he became so radical.”