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 'Picasso and Truth' by T.J. Clark

September 2013, no. 354 27 August 2013
Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Picasso and Truth' by T.J. Clark
Picasso at twenty-five was famous in Paris, comfortably off by 1914, wealthy and internationally recognised six years later. He married a leading ballerina, Olga Khokhlova, in Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. It turned out badly. Two of his mistresses, Fernande Olivier and FranÇoise Gilot, wrote tell-all memoirs, which he did his best, unsuccessfully, to repress. At least two other mistresses, ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Self-Portrait as a Young Man' by Roy Strong

July–August 2013, no. 353 26 June 2013
Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Self-Portrait as a Young Man' by Roy Strong
Roy Strong was appointed director of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in 1967 at the age of thirty-two. Today it would be astonishing to head one of the United Kingdom’s national collections at that age; five decades ago it was outrageous. Only Kenneth Clark at thirty was younger when he became director of the National Gallery. Strong’s ascent to the NPG has stayed in his mind as the fulcru ... (read more)

Cézanne – a chaotic self

March 2013, no. 349 08 March 2013
Cézanne – a chaotic self
The lives of artists have formed a staple of art history from Vasari in the sixteenth century to Alex Danchev in the twenty-first. Current styles of art history may frown on biographies of artists. They smack too much of the hero artist and side-step the social construction of art. Yet the genre shows no sign of wilting. In our time we have such masterly works as John Richardson’s multi-volume L ... (read more)

'Wordly riches at the Barnes: From musty Merion to a new home in Philadelphia' by Patrick McCaughey

July–August 2012, no. 343 10 July 2012
In mid-May the Barnes Foundation opened at its new location in the cultural corridor of downtown Philadelphia. A cloud of controversy followed it to the end. The new building, handsome if flawed, from the gifted New York studio of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, has attracted its share of criticism. The entrance, initially hard to find, is at the back of the building facing towards the car park and ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde' edited by Janet Bishop, Cécile Debray, and Rebecca Rabinow

June 2012, no. 342 24 May 2012
Patrick McCaughey reviews 'The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde' edited by Janet Bishop, Cécile Debray, and Rebecca Rabinow
Despite its unrewarding title, The Steins Collect, both exhibition and catalogue, tells the most captivating story of early modern art and its patronage. The cast of characters ranges from the downright difficult (Leo) and the overweeningly self-important (Gertrude) to sunny Californian idealists (Sarah and Michael). Gertrude and her brother Leo set up their joint ménage at 27 rue de Fleurus, clo ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'The Donald Friend Diaries: Chronicles & Confessions of an Australian Artist' by Ian Britain

November 2010, no. 326 16 November 2011
For some sixty years Donald Friend kept a diary, making his final entry just days before his death in 1989 at the age of seventy-four. The National Library of Australia published them in four massive volumes between 2001 and 2006. They were intractable. You needed an axe to cut through the stream of consciousness which flowed from an uncensoring pen. ... (read more)

'The paradoxical neglect of Australian art abroad' by Patrick McCaughey

June 2011, no. 332 24 May 2011
Twenty years ago, when I was at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, I heard of an Arthur Boyd exhibition in SoHo. Recklessly, without seeing the show, I urged my American friends to see one of Australia’s foremost contemporary painters. The gallery, unknown to me, turned out to be small and unimpressive. There were five or six late paintings, including one of those large, multi-figured bathers, ... (read more)
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