Patrick McCaughey

Patrick McCaughey

Patrick McCaughey is former Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford Connecticut, and the Yale Center for British Art. His most recent book is Strange Country: Why Australian Painting Matters (2014). His other works include Voyage and Landfall: The Art of Jan Senbergs (2006). He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and Australian Book Review. He lives and works on the banks of the Quinnipiac River in New Haven, and has recently finished editing Fred Williams: Diaries 1963–1970 for the Miegunyah Press.

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Reason and Lovelessness: Essays, encounters, reviews 1980–2017' by Barry Hill

May 2018, no. 401 24 April 2018
Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Reason and Lovelessness: Essays, encounters, reviews 1980–2017' by Barry Hill
Barry Hill’s collection of essays from the last four decades is commanding and impressive. Few could match his range of subjects: from Tagore to John Berger, Lucian Freud to Christina Stead – all, for the most part, carried off with aplomb. He catches the ‘raw’ edge of Freud’s studio – ‘worksite’ as Hill calls it – ‘the sea of bare boards that rise into so many paintings, the t ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick' edited by Darryl Pinckney

April 2018, no. 400 26 March 2018
Patrick McCaughey reviews 'The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick' edited by Darryl Pinckney
Elizabeth Hardwick is, unfairly, better known outside of New York as Robert Lowell’s second wife, who heroically endured twenty-three years of tumultuous and tortuous marriage. She inspired his finest love poetry: All night I’ve held your hand,as if you hada fourth time faced the kingdom of the mad –its hackneyed speech, its homicidal eye –and dragged me home alive … Sleepless, you hol ... (read more)

Giacometti (Tate Modern)

ABR Arts 08 June 2017
Giacometti (Tate Modern)
Tate Modern excelled itself with its Giacometti retrospective. It’s not easy to take a familiar modern master and return a new and compelling view of his work. Many years ago, MoMA in New York failed the challenge abysmally. They had nothing new to say about the artist and went through the motions of a retrospective. Worst of all: you came away thinking that Alberto Giacometti (1901–66) was ti ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilization' by James Stourton

April 2017, no. 390 30 March 2017
Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilization' by James Stourton
Kenneth Clark had a life like no other art historian or critic, gallery director, arts administrator, patron, collector, or presenter on television. Whatever he touched, he left a sheen of brilliance. He was handsome, charming, and debonair. And he was rich, spending his last three decades as the lord of Saltwood Castle. His father, the raffish and boozy Kenneth McKenzie Clark, had made a fortune ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Art in Britain 1660–1815' by David H. Solkin

September 2016, no. 384 24 August 2016
Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Art in Britain 1660–1815' by David H. Solkin
A major revolution swept through British art history in the 1980s. It shook up its genteel ways and turned it resolutely, even militantly, towards the social history of art. John Barrell's The Dark Side of the Landscape, Michael Rosenthal's Constable, Ann Bermingham's Landscape and Ideology, and Marcia Pointon's Hanging the Head were the key texts. The most incendiary of the new British art histor ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Rendez-vous with Art' by Philippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford

November 2015, no. 376 29 October 2015
Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Rendez-vous with Art' by Philippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford
Philippe de Montebello was Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for thirty-one years. The astonishing length of his tenure is matched by the brilliance of his reign. Every part of the museum's forty-plus acres of exhibition space was renewed or transformed during those years, from classical antiquity to twentieth- and twenty-first-century art. Not a tatty corner or a tired old gallery remain ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'My Dear BB' edited by Robert Cumming

September 2015, no. 374 27 August 2015
Patrick McCaughey reviews 'My Dear BB' edited by Robert Cumming
By some accounts, it was love at first sight. When Kenneth Clark, recently graduated with a 2A from Oxford, lunched with Bernard Berenson at I Tatti in September 1925, BB impulsively invited him to collaborate on the revised edition of his chef d’oeuvre: The Drawings of the Florentine Painters, Classified, Criticized and Studied as Documents in the History and Appreciation of Tuscan Art with a C ... (read more)

Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence

ABR Arts 04 June 2015
Every student of Australian art knows that when Arthur Boyd went to London in 1959 and paid his first visit to the National Gallery, two paintings laid siege to his imagination. Titian’s The Death of Actaeon was one from which came Boyd’s tormented Nude and Beast series. The other was Piero di Cosimo’s panel now spiritlessly titled A Satyr Mourning over a Nymph, then known as The Death of P ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'John Olsen: An Artist's Life' by Darleen Bungey

March 2015, no. 369 02 March 2015
Patrick McCaughey reviews 'John Olsen: An Artist's Life' by Darleen Bungey
Eight years ago Darleen Bungey published a revelatory biography of Arthur Boyd. She cast shadows across the ‘idyllic’ Open Country years where the extended Boyd family lived in suburban Murrumbeena and unflinchingly detailed his declining, alcoholic years at Bundanon. Bungey’s compelling new biography of John Olsen has its share of revelations. Olsen’s weak and inadequate father wound up d ... (read more)

Amsterdam Phoenix

March 2014, no. 359 28 February 2014
The Rijksmuseum used to be the dullest of the major European collections. It looked as though Ursula Hoff had painted all the pictures. An air of dowdiness hung over the massive building and crowded collections where the good and the great indiscriminately mixed in with the mediocre in warren-like galleries with an over-supply of the decorative arts. ... (read more)
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