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

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Thornton Dial

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

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Zaha Hadid

B. 1950, Baghdad • Lived and worked in London

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Vladimir Kagan

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

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Malick Sidibe

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

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Richard Smith

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

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Marisol

B. 1930, Paris • Lived and worked in New York

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Louisa Chase

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

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Francois Morellet

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

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Tunga

B. 1952, Palmares, Pernambuco, Brazil • Lived and worked in Rio de Janeiro

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Fan Ho

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

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Bill Cunningham

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

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Alan Vega

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

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Billy Name

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

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Jaime Davidovich

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

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Marc Riboud

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

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Shirley Jaffe

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

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George Barris

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

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Darby Bannard

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

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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

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Arnold Mesches

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

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Rodney Smith

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

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—Artsy Editors

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