2017 Resources

Artists and Disability

Profiles of artists who are or have been disabled, and artists who have featured disabled people through a social model lens.




Agnes Richter, 1844–1918

Agnes Richter (1844–1918) was a German-born seamstress. In 1893, Richter was admitted to a Heidelberg psychiatric hospital on the behalf of her father and brothers following several acute delusional episodes.[1] Richter’s legacy has survived primarily because of its entanglement with a small, personal jacket that she sewed during her lengthy institutionalization. Pieced together from brown wool and […]

Alfred Reginald Thomson, 1894–1979

Alfred Reginald Thomson RA (10 December 1894 – 27 October 1979) was an English artist, most notable for being an official War Artist to the Royal Air Force during World War Two.[1] Life[edit] Thomson’s portrait of George medal holder Charity Bick Thomson was born in Bangalore in India where his father was a British civil […]

Alison Lapper, 1961–

Alison Lapper has phocomelia and was born without arms and with shortened legs. Since her childhood, she has lived in homes and has had little contact with her kinship. The mother saw her child for the last time at the age of four months; later Lapper saluted herself with her. When she was fitted with arm prostheses , she did not feel it helpful, […]

Artists First (artist group, Bristol)

Artists First is a group of 16 disabled visual artists with learning difficulties based in Bristol. http://www.artistsfirst.org.uk We have been working together since 1988. We are used to running our own studios and have organised and been part of many exhibitions, residencies and open studio events. Artists First includes artists who met while attending Social Services’ […]

August Natterer, 1868–1933

He was born in 1868 in Ravensburger Vorstadtschornreute as the son of an employee and was the youngest of nine children. Natterer was married and an electrical engineer, when he was sent to a psychiatric institution in 1907 for delirium and anxiety . To his will, he remained until his death in institutions. At this time a great productivity as a painter, in which he mostly […]

August Walla, 1936–

Born on June 22, 1936 in Klosterneuberg in Lower Austria, August Walla remained an only son and had a very tight bond with his mother, who raised him as if her were a girl, hoping thus to spare him being enlisted in the army. He imagined for a long time that Hitler was his father, […]

Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev, 1878–1927

Profile of the Russian artist

Breughel, 1521–1569

Breughel painter of the people 1521-1569. Activities KS3-KS5 download

Claude Monet, 1840–1926

Claude Monet 1840-1926 EARLY LIFE Claude Monet also known as Oscar-Claude Monet or Claude Oscar Monet (November 14, 1840 – December 5, 1926) was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term Impressionism is derived from […]

Douglas Tilden, 1860–1935

Douglas Tilden (May 1, 1860 to August 5, 1935) was a world-famous sculptor. Tilden was deaf and attended the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, California (now in Fremont, California).[1] Tilden became deaf at the age of four after a severe bout of scarlet fever.[2] After graduating from the CA School for the Deaf, he went on to attend UC Berkeley and studied with Francis Marion […]

Edgar Degas, 1834–1917

Edgar Degas (1834-1917) Edgar Degas was a French painter, sculptor, and engraver. He is best known for his paintings of dancers, and he excelled in capturing their movement and artistry. Degas’ vision problems began in 1870, at age 36, probably due to retinopathy, or problems with his retina. He found it difficult to tolerate bright light, especially […]

Francis Bacon, 1909–1992

Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992) was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, grotesque, emotionally charged, raw imagery. He is best known for his depictions of popes, crucifixions and portraits of close friends. His abstracted figures are typically isolated in geometrical cage like spaces, set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. Bacon said that he […]

Francisco Goya, 1746–1828

Francisco Goya and his illness[1] Francisco Josè de Goya y Lucientes (Fig. 1) was a painter endowed with a great expressive capacity. His work, which was carried out between the end of the Seventeenth and the beginning of the Eighteenth Century, covered a period of more than 60 years, with a massive production, a wide […]

Franz Karl Bühler, 1864–1940

(* 28 August 1864 in Offenburg , † 1940 in Grafeneck ) was a German art-fitter and painter. He was honored for his work as a German art smith . He taught for three years as a lecturer at the Straßburger Kunstgewerbeschule . Also known are his works as painters , which he produced in various institutions and published by Hans Prinzhorn under the pseudonym “Fra After his school days in Offenburg, Franz Karl Bühler […]

Frida Kahlo, 1907–1954

Frida Kahlo.  download

Georgia O’Keeffe, 1887–1986

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) Georgia O’Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887, the second of seven children and grew up on a farm in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. As a child she received art lessons at home and her abilities were quickly recognized and encouraged by teachers throughout her school years. By the time she graduated from […]

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1864–1901

Thorough essay by John David Ike, MD Candidate, Emory University School of Medicine

James Castle, 1899–1977

James Castle 1899-1977 Profoundly Deaf USA  Artist James Castle was born September 25, 1899, in the small mountain town of Garden Valley, Idaho to Francis J. Castle and Mary Nora Scanlon. The fifth of seven children, Castle was born two months premature.  His mother was the local midwife and his father was the postmaster and […]

Joseph Cartin, 1953–

JOSEPH CARTIN Cartin is from Brooklyn and actively lives with bipolar disorder. He has been active in the Mental Health Consumer Movement since 1990 and considers himself a “psychiatric survivor”. He has won numerous art competitions and does corporate design work in addition to his art. As well as his personal art he is and […]

Keith Salmon, 1959–

KEITH SALMON Disability: Visually Impaired Keith is a blind fine artist and avid mountain climber. He has climbed over a hundred Munros (a type of Scottish mountain), one of which can be seen in the first painting below. In 2009 he won the Jolomo award for Scottish landscape painting. Keith Salmon was born in Essex and moved […]

Ketra Oberlande

Ketrr always had vision problems, but eventually all of her cone (color) and most of her rod (black and white) vision failed and she became blind. To answer the questions of curious and concerned friends, she embraced art as a way to show others how she was seeing the world. What surprised her, however, was how […]

Lisa Fittipaldi, 1948–

Lisa not only learned to paint after losing her sight, she wrote a book about it. Her inspiring use of color and her ability to tell which color she is using just by feeling the texture of the paint are just two remarkable facets of her story. Born in Pontiac, Michigan in 1948, Lisa Fittipaldi […]

Liu Shuai, 1989–

    Liu Shuai mainly employs black and colored ink and uses both the two main techniques in traditional Chinese painting-Shui Mo, freehand or watercolor or brush painting, and Gong Bi, meticulous or court-style painting.   Shauai  suffers from cerebral palsy and has been confined to a wheelchair since his childhood. Despite many adversities of […]

Marc Quinn, 1964–

Marc Quinn, a contemporary artist and sculpture, works arises from a deep fascination with existence. The materials are both form and content in which he uses art history to investigate and expand and broaden our thinking about the essence of being human. In this journey he has shown himself to be inclusive in his choice […]

Maria Iliou

MARIA ILIOU Disability: Autistic Maria Iliou is a Greek artist with autism spectrum condition. She is a life long resident of Long Island, New York, and is deeply involved as an advocate for the rights of people with autism. Her subject matter varies from the abstract to scenes of nature and family life. Maria has […]

Mary Cassatt, 1844–1926

CASSATT, MARY (1844 – 1926) Who was Mary Cassatt? Born on May 22, 1844 in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (now a part of Pittsburgh), Mary Cassatt was a remarkable woman who succeeded in what was then a predominantly male profession. The daughter of a wealthy investment banker, her family was close, and she was brought up […]

Maud Lewis, 1903–1970

Profile of the Canadian artist

Maurice Denton Welch, 1915–1948

Maurice Denton Welch was born March 29, 1915, in Shanghai, to Arthur Joseph Welch, whose parents were English, and Rosalind Basset, whose family was originally from New Bedford, Massachusetts. Denton Welch was the youngest of four boys and spent his early childhood in Shanghai, with many visits to England. In 1924 Welch was enrolled in […]

Michelangelo, 1475–1564

  Michelangelo is widely regarded as the most famous artist of the Italian Renaissance. Among his works are the “David” and “Pieta” statues and the Sistine Chapel frescoes. It is now thought that he had many features of high functioning autism or Aspergers syndrome. Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475, in Caprese, Italy. Born to […]

Nancy Willis

Nancy Willis is a London based artist whose work includes painting, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, and moving image. Nancy has exhibited in the Whitechapel Open, Diorama Art Gallery, London, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle and BBC Television Centre. She was Artist in Residence at Hammersmith Hospital and Byam Shaw School of Art. In 2003 she received […]

Pablo Picasso, Blue Period Art and Depression

Pablo Picasso 1901-1904 Blue Period Art and Depression  Self -Portrait The Blue Period (Spanish: Período Azul) is a term used to define the works produced by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso between 1901 and 1904 when he painted essentially monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors. These somber works, inspired by Spain and painted in Barcelona and Paris, are now some […]

Paul Cézanne, 1839–1906

CÉZANNE, PAUL (1839-1906) Who was Paul Cézanne? Paul Cézanne was born on January 19, 1839, in Aix-en-Provence, France and died in his home in Aix at age 67 on October 23, 1906. Although born out of wedlock, Cézanne was acknowledged by his father, a hatter turned wealthy banker. Cézanne’s parents were married in Aix a […]

Paula Rego, 1935–

Paula Rego and her son discuss unravelling the artist’s tortured life on film Paula Rego and the flying mermaids in her north London studio CREDIT: ©NICK WILLING/©NICK WILLING   Lowenna Waters, Telegraph 23 MARCH 2017 • 1:00PM Awoman, in a black dress with bare feet, presses herself into a sofa. Her posture is cowered, and her arms are crossed […]

Peter Longstaff, 1961–

Peter is a foot painter. He creates all of his artwork using just his feet, having no arms. Peter’s disability stemmed from the drug thalidomide, which was prescribed for morning sickness until it was discovered that it caused deformities fetuses. After living most of his life without arms, Peter considers his right foot to be […]

Petrona Viera, 1895–1960

Petrona Viera From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Biography[edit]María Petrona Viera Garino (24 March 1895 – 4 October 1960), commonly known as Petrona Viera, was an Uruguayan painter known for being the first female professional painter in Uruguay and for her participation in the Planismo movement.[1] Planista painting is made on the basis of color planes, […]

Rembrandt van Rijn, 1606–1669

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) Rembrandt van Rijn was a Dutch artist, generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history. Several researchers believe that Rembrandt may have had stereo blindness (dissimilar visual images received by his left and right eyes), since many of his self-portraits […]

Riva Lehrer, 1958–

https://3arts.org/artist/riva-lehrer/ Riva Lehrer (b. Cincinnati 1958). Artist, writer and curator, whose work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body, especially in explorations of cultural depictions of disability. Ms. Lehrer’s art work has been seen in venues including the United Nations, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, […]

Sanchita Islam, 1973–

Islam was born in Manchester, Lancashire, England to a “non-Sylheti“Bangladeshi parents. Islam’s father died when she was eight months old, at the time her mother was in her mid 20s with three children under the age of four. Islam and her sisters were brought up by their mother and step-father. Her mother was a social worker in […]

Sigrid Hjerten, 1885–

Sigrid Hjertén was born 1885 in Sundsvall, Sweden. She was a pioneer of Swedish expressionism and the only female member of the artist group De Åtta. Together with her husband Isaak Grünewald, she traveled to Paris in 1909, in order to study painting in the studio of Matisse. Before Hjertén took up painting, she taught textile design, and […]

Stephen Wiltshire, 1974–

STEPHEN WILTSHIRE Disability: Autistic Wiltshire was born in 1974 in London to West Indian parents. He is an autistic savant and world famous architectural artist. He learned to speak at the age of nine, and at the age of ten began drawing detailed sketches of London landmarks. While he has created many prodigious works of […]

Tanya Raabe-Webber

Biography Tanya Raabe other wise known as Tanya Raabe-Webber was Born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, has been a practising Visual Artist, devising artworks exploring and challenging identity, a disabled self and the nude in contemporary Art since 1987. She gained a BA(HONS) in Graphic Design at Leeds Polytechnic an MA in Communication Design at Manchester […]

Tony Heaton, 1954–

Tony Heaton ,  Sculptor, lecturer, NDACA founder, Shape Chair   Tony Heaton was born in Preston, Lancashire. At the age of 16, a motor bike accident left him with a spinal injury, he switched from a comprehensive school to a local arts college at Southport. From 1972, he was self employed as artist, sign writer, […]

Vincent Van Gogh, 1853–1890

 Van Gogh and Mental Illness “One feels as if one were lying bound hand and foot at the bottom of a deep dark well, utterly helpless.” BY MARIA POPOVA Around the time that Tolstoy was tussling with depression and his spiritual crisis, on the other side of Europe another creative icon was struggling with the darkness […]

Walter Bryan Pearce,1929–2007

Walter Bryan Pearce (25 July 1929 – 11 January 2007) was a British painter. He was recognised as one of the UK’s leading naïve artists. Early life[edit] Bryan Pearce was born in St. Ives, Cornwall, which remained his home for the rest of his life. His father, Walter, was a butcher in St Ives, played rugby for Cornwall, and was […]

William Blake, 1757–1827

William Blake (1757–1827)  lived in “a Deep pit of Melancholy, Melancholy without any real reason for it.” These episodes were often followed by periods of “illumination” and intense creativity-Likely Bi-Polar Nebuchadnezzar (Blake) 1805 William Blake was both a great poet and a great painter. Blake invented a method of relief engraving that was able to […]

William Utermohlen, 1933–2007

William Utermohlen 1933-2007-dementia  Self Portrait 1967 American artist William Utermohlen received a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease in 1995, at the age of 61. For the next five years, as his dementia worsened, he used his art to track the disintegration of his mind. Utermohlen’s self-portraits, such as the sketches above from 1996, offer a […]

Yinka Shonibare, 1962–

Yinka Shonibare race class and cultural Identity,  1962 –       Yinka Shonibare is a British – Nigerian artist living in the United  kingdom. He has  become well known for his exploration of colonialism and postcolonialism within the contemporary context of globalization. Working in painting, sculpture, photography, film and performance, Shonibare’s work examines race, […]

Yvonne Mabs Francis, 1945–

Artist insight: Yvonne Mabs Francis I was born in Oxford in 1945. I attended Brighton School of Art and The Slade School of Art, London, in the Sixties. After leaving college I created Mabs, a business designing and manufacturing clothes. In 1980 and after the birth of my son I returned to painting full time […]

Zuly Sanguino

It’s been a difficult life for this 25-year-old who was born with no arms or legs and has been subjected to bullying, sexual abuse and even contemplated suicide. But Zuly Sanguino has proven that she is bigger than those challenges and is now a successful public speaker hoping to inspire others to overcome the hurdles […]