"Bar Hemingway, Hotel Ritz Paris" by Pablo Sanchez
“Bar Hemingway, Hotel Ritz Paris” by Pablo Sanchez

Saturday is International Friendship Day, and what better way to celebrate the meeting of like minds than to highlight some famous literary and artistic duos? Inspired by our Embellished Manuscripts Schiller, Letter to Goethe journal, we decided to take a closer look at the cultural legacies left by these distinguished friendships.

Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman

As Hunter S. Thompson’s close friend and longtime illustrator, Ralph Steadman (and his ink-blotted scrawl) is almost as famous as his writing partner. Steadman’s pen-and-ink illustrations and caricatures, combined with Thompson’s no-holds-barred journalism, gave birth to an entirely new style of writing: the manic, primarily first-person genre known as “Gonzo.”

Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso

Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso may have begun as rivals in the modern art movement, but both were keen enough artists to appreciate the other’s work. Following Picasso’s unveiling of his primal, yet geometric, masterpiece Les Demoiselles d’Avignon in 1907, the two painters kept a close eye on each other, leading to a reluctant friendship based on creative challenges and stimulation.

Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald

American ex-patriots were a strong artistic presence in France during the first decades of the twentieth century. Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald are the two best-known figures to write in Paris during that time and their friendship, which alternated between feelings of jealousy and of respect, was an important driver in both their literary careers. Though their relationship tapered off in later years, during the peak of their prolificness it was so strong that Fitzgerald even helped Hemingway to edit The Sun Also Rises.

Harper Lee and Truman Capote

Another friendship between American writers was a perhaps more unlikely one, as To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee and In Cold Blood scribe Truman Capote enjoyed a rewarding reciprocal relationship during their peak writing years. So important was this connection that they each based a character off the other, with the Capote-influenced Dill appearing in Mockingbird and the defiant tomboy Idabel in Other Voices, Other Rooms honouring Lee.

Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin

The art of Vincent van Gogh, such as his self portraits and depictions of sunflowers, is loved around the world but it is perhaps his gruesome, self-inflicted injury for which he is best known. However, recent speculation suggests that it might actually have been his impassioned friend, fellow artist and fencing star, Paul Gauguin, who razored off Van Gogh’s ear after a heated argument.

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