Patrick McCaughey

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 ...

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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 ...

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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 McK ...

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 ...

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Rendez-vous with Art by Philippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford

by
November 2015, no. 376

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 corn ...

To highlight Australian Book Review's arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year's memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate their favourites – and to nominate one production they are looking forward to in 2016. (We indicate which works were reviewed in Arts Up ...

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, C ...

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

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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 destitute on the streets of Sydney, largely sustained by handouts from his son. Boyd was an intensely private man, friendly but reclusive. Olsen has been a public figure for most of his long career, reaching back to the early 1950s when he emerged from the Julian Ashton school as the star student of the difficult and demanding John Passmore. Boyd was dead before Bungey published her biography. John Olsen, happily, remains a boisterous octogenarian, going strong in art and life. A living subject is not always to the biographer’s advantage. Bungey can sound like a cheerleader: ‘Like Jay Gatsby, John was a man from an impoverished childhood with a mind for enquiry, a hunger for romance and a need for invention.’

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The cover assembles the book’s title and author’s name (writ very large) with a photograph of him, in an art gallery, before a wide yellow landscape by Fred Williams. Turning to the viewer, Patrick McCaughey is about to launch into a story that will satisfy the curiosity teased by the name of the book, Strange Country: Why Australian Painting Matters.

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