The Artists We Lost in 2016

As the year comes to a close, we remember some of the most notable artists and creatives who passed away in 2016. They brought to the world pioneering paintings, innovative design, unprecedented architectural feats, and photographs that captured the struggles, fashions, and cultural obsessions of the last century.

Among them: Thornton Dial, a self-taught artist from Alabama, made intricate, bold assemblages that powerfully channeled the African-American experience. Marisol and Shirley Jaffe, pioneers of Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism, respectively, helped forge a place for women in both male-dominated movements.

Malick Sidibé harnessed the exuberance of post-colonial Mali in his photographic portraits, while Marc Riboud created an international anti-war icon in his image of a Vietnam war protester holding a flower while facing a line of bayonets, and Bill Cunningham chronicled the ever-changing sartorial trappings of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Premature passings included that of Zaha Hadid, the boundary-pushing, Iraqi-British architect, and Leila Alaoui, a documentary photographer who focused on migration and displacement and died in a terrorist attack, while on assignment for UN Women and Amnesty International in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

While these trailblazing artists are no longer with us, their creative spirits live on in the work they left behind, which, collectively, will continue to inspire generations of artists after them.

Leila Alaoui

B. 1982, Paris • Lived and worked between Beirut, Lebanon, and Marrakech, Morocco

From the series, 'The Moroccans', Khamlia Bride, South of Morocco
From the series, 'The Moroccans' -  Souk of Tounfite, Middle Atlas
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Thornton Dial

B. 1928, Emelle, Alabama • Lived and worked in McCalla, Alabama

Slavery to Freedom (triptych)
Foundation of the World (A Dream of My Mother)
Lady Feeds the Tiger
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Zaha Hadid

B. 1950, Baghdad • Lived and worked in London

‘Vision for Madrid’, Spain
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Vladimir Kagan

B. 1927, Worms, Germany • Lived and worked in New York

Rare Cabinet in Mahogany with Ceramic Art Tiles
Iconic Serving Cart in Walnut
Table Lamp
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Malick Sidibe

B. 1936, Soloba, Mali • Lived and worked in Bamako, Mali

Studio Portrait
pique-nique à la chaussée
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Richard Smith

B. 1931, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, England •  Lived and worked in Long Island, New York

Sealed With a Kiss
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B. 1930, Paris • Lived and worked in New York

Tea for Thre
Mi Mama y Yo
Portrait of Martha Graham
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Louisa Chase

B. 1951, Panama City, Panama • Lived and worked in East Hampton, New York

Untitled (Feet)
Untitled (Hands)
Baby, Baby
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Francois Morellet

B. 1926, Cholet, France • Lived and worked in Cholet, France

Farandole blanche
Contresens n°2
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B. 1952, Palmares, Pernambuco, Brazil • Lived and worked in Rio de Janeiro

Amber Foliation
Tacape Escalpe
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Fan Ho

B. 1931, Shanghai • Lived and worked in Hong Kong and San Jose, California

Approaching Shadow
Fan Ho, Afternoon Chat, 1959. Image courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery.
Fan Ho, Mother’s Helper, 1967. Image courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery.
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Bill Cunningham

B. 1929, Boston • Lived and worked in New York

"21” Club, New York City
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City
Paris Theater, New York City
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Alan Vega

B. 1938, New York • Lived and worked in New York

Van Gogh
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Billy Name

B. 1940, Poughkeepsie, New York • Lived and worked in New York

Nico (Chelsea Girl Album Cover)
Bob Dylan
Andy Warhol, Nico's son Ari, Lou Reed, Nico, John Cale, Maureen Tucker, Mary Woronov, Sterling Morrison, and Gerard Malanga
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Jaime Davidovich

B. 1936, Buenos Aires • Lived and worked in New York

Adventures of the Avant-Garde
The Live! Show (April 29, 1983)
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Marc Riboud

B. 1923, Saint-Genis-Laval, France • Lived and worked in Paris

Painter on the Eiffel Tower
Nun in front of Notre-Dame, Paris.
Yves Saint Laurent à sa table de travail (Yves Saint Laurent at his desk) Paris, 1964
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Shirley Jaffe

B. 1923, Elizabeth, New Jersey • Lived and worked in Paris

Upside Down - New York
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George Barris

B. 1928, New York • Lived and worked in Thousand Oaks, California

Marilyn on the Beach
Marilyn Driving
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Darby Bannard

B. 1934, New Haven, Connecticut • Lived and worked in Miami

The Model #3
The Plot
Untitled (Green Krylon on pink paper)
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Elaine Lustig Cohen

B. 1927, Jersey City, New Jersey • Lived and worked in New York

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Louis Stettner

B. 1922, Brooklyn, New York • Lived and worked in Saint-Ouen, France

Six Lights, Penn Station
Train Platform, Solitary Woman, Penn Station
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Arnold Mesches

B. 1923, The Bronx, New York • Lived and worked in Gainesville, Florida

Anomies 1980: Nancy Reagan's Dream
ANomies 1992: Landscape Painting
Coming Attractions 4
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Rodney Smith

B. 1947, New York • Lived and worked in Snedens Landing, New York

Saori on Sea Plane Wing, Dominican Republic
Reed Leaping Over Rooftop, New York, New York
Bernadette in Red Hat with Book, New York Public Library
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—Artsy Editors