Creative Baby Names: Art World starbabies

Sure, we know that rockers and rappers are infamous for being the most inventive—which is to say extreme—band of baby namers.  But what about artists at the other end of the spectrum—the Fine Art painters and sculptors. Are they equally creative when naming their kids?

Getting the answer to this question proved to be a little more difficult than I’d thought, since these art world denizens and their offspring don’t appear much in the tabs, and most of their biographies downplay their domestic lives.  But my digging did produce some evidence that their creativity did extend to a number of artists’ children’s name choices.

Here are some truly creative baby names chosen by both superstars of the art world and others who might be less well known.  Most are modern/contemporary painters and sculptors, but with a few irresistible older masters’ names thrown in.


AmaryllisAugustus John

Beatrice (Bebe) Tony Smith

CandidaDavid Smith

Chiara (who became the artist Kiki)– Tony Smith

CordyRobert Ryman

DominieR. B. Kitaj

GwynneLarry Rivers


IndiaMaya Lin

IsabettaAlice Neel

Jaroslava—Alphonse Mucha

Kizette–Tamara de Lempicka

LolaJulian Schnabel

Lorenza (called Lola)—Salvador Scarpitta

Lyndon (called Lyn)Kenneth Noland

MaraAl Held

MarchMilton Avery

Maro—Archile Gorky

MayaPable Picasso

Melia Brice Marden

MirabelleBrice Marden

MusaPhilip Guston

OnaWill Barnet

PalomaPablo Picasso (shown as painted by her father)

Poppet—Augustus John

Rainier Yingling—Donald Judd

SantillanaAlice Neel

SaskiaRed Grooms

SetonTony Smith

SonnyEd Ruscha

StellaJulian Schnabel

TwinkaWayne Thibault

Vida RoseCraig Kauffman

WilhelminaCraig Kauffman


Angus OrionJohn Chamberlain

Anton Lemuel (called Lem)–R. B. Kitaj

BeauDan Flavin

Cassius AtticusDamien Hirst

Cedd—Ed Moses

Connor Ojala Damien Hirst

CyJulian Schnabel

Cyrus JoeDamien Hirst

Flavin Starbuck—Donald Judd (after his friend and fellow artist Dan Flavin)

HartleyAlice Neel

JarvisNorman Rockwell

LudwigJeff Koons

MitchellRoy Lichtenstein

NeelAlice Neel

OlmoJulian Schnabel


Ulrich (called Jimmy) –Max Ernst

VitoJulian Schnabel


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10 Responses to “Creative Baby Names: Art World starbabies”

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Lola Says:

October 20th, 2011 at 9:47 am

Maya’s Pablo Picasso’s, right? not Pable!

Beatrice, nn Bebe is divine, and Lorenza, nn Lola is fabulous!

From the boys, Anton Lemuel is awesome but I like Anton betterr than Lemuel/Lem.
Cassius is fantastic, but Atticus is a bit repetetive paired. I like it though. And Ludwig makes me smile, between the musical link and remembering freshman German (Ludwig was His name in class!). Yep, Ludwig gets a huge happy smile from me! I love Lou, no matter how I get him!

Lola Says:

October 20th, 2011 at 9:49 am

I forgot Saskia Grooms, what a great pairing *that* is! 😀

millymom619 Says:

October 20th, 2011 at 11:14 am

This list is really awesome, but my favorite part was reading about the Judds. A close friend works for the Judd Foundation and mentions Rainier and Flavin all the time, so to find out their middle names remind me of coffee and beer is kind of funny. Also interesting to finally know where the name Flavin came from!

hayleysaunt Says:

October 20th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I’m an art historian, so I especially love this list!

I think Paloma is my favorite. Off topic, I love the idea of matching meanings of names across sibsets and the idea of naming several children with “peace” or “dove” names is one of my favorites. The novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog has sisters named Paloma and Columbine, which is so completely awesome.

I love that Alice Neel gave her son her last name as a first (its what I’d love my sister in law to do if she and my brother eventually have a boy).

ebeth78 Says:

October 20th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Right away the name “Candida” stood out to me. Candida is the yeast that causes yeast infections. What a pity the parents of that child didn’t do a little research!

kg Says:

October 20th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I don’t think any photographers were on this list but Diane Arbus had a daughter named Dune and I’ve always thought that was an interesting and cool choice.

tct1219 Says:

October 20th, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I agree with ebeth78, my first thought was “Candida?! Gross!”

auroradawn Says:

October 20th, 2011 at 10:07 pm

I’m actually acquainted with Salvador Scarpitta’s grandson Steve Scarpitta, and since Steve recently inherited some of his grandfather’s work, my dad has seen some of Salvador’s sculptures in person! I think Lorenza is a unique and pretty choice, though I don’t care as much for the nickname Lola. She must be Steve’s aunt.

moxielove Says:

November 8th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Saskia & Oona are the top two names if we have another girl.

As for Twinka….well I don’t think that name will make our list for a while….like, we’d have to be on Baby #20 to start even considering Twinka.

Baby Names Inspired By Dancers — From Allegra To Merce « Go to News! Says:

October 19th, 2012 at 3:35 pm

[…] As with all artistic children, we have to wonder how much influence the parents who chose their creative baby names had on their offspring’s vocations. Is it serendipitous that ballerina Allegra Kent was given a […]

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