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At Tate Britain (2)

Rosemary Hill: Kenneth Clark, 2 July 2014

... In part ten​ of Civilisation, Kenneth Clark turned his attention to the Enlightenment, the age of the great amateurs. These were men ‘rich and independent enough to do what they liked’, who nevertheless did things which required considerable ability, men like Lord Burlington, the architect earl. A connoisseur, an ‘arbiter of taste’, Clark explained, ‘the sort of character who these days is much despised ...

The Other Half

Robert Melville, 4 July 1985

Kenneth ClarkA Biography 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 310 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 9780297783985
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... I knew Kenneth Clark by sight some time before he spoke to me. It was in the late Fifties, I think, at the press view of an exhibition of 20th-century English painting, that words were exchanged. We must have got there very early, because no one else was in the gallery. I was standing in front of a big Pasmore and Clark was coming to look at it ...

Naming the Graces

Charles Hope, 15 March 1984

The Art of Humanism 
by Kenneth Clark.
Murray, 198 pp., £12.50, October 1983, 0 7195 4077 1
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The Eloquence of Symbols: Studies in Humanist Art 
by Edgar Wind, edited by Jaynie Anderson.
Oxford, 135 pp., £25, January 1984, 0 19 817341 5
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... In the last forty years Kenneth Clark did more than anyone else to create an interest in the art of Renaissance Italy, but Edgar Wind had a much greater influence on the way in which this art has been studied. Both men were outstanding lecturers and gifted writers, and both, in very different ways, were influenced by the work of Aby Warburg ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Fakes, 22 July 2010

... the 1930s as a masterpiece by Botticelli, but the feeling that something was wrong about it grew. Kenneth Clark said the Madonna had ‘something of the silent cinema star about her’ (he mentioned Jean Harlow), and the too full lips, the baby-doll look, now seem very un-Botticelli: the picture refuses to fit the template. The models and film stars that ...

Blame it on his social life

Nicholas Penny: Kenneth Clark, 5 January 2017

Kenneth ClarkLife, Art and ‘Civilisation’ 
by James Stourton.
William Collins, 478 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 00 749341 8
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... Each and every​ place in the life of Kenneth Clark has been investigated by James Stourton, from the country house in Suffolk where, as a boy, Clark judged the dresses of female dinner guests, to the château in Normandy belonging to his second wife, Nolwen, where, in his later years, he tried to find ways to communicate with the lovers who had once hoped he would marry them ...

Sea Creatures

Peter Campbell, 23 July 1987

Sidney Nolan: Such is life 
by Brian Adams.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.95, June 1987, 0 09 168430 7
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Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures 
by John Wilmerding.
Viking, 208 pp., £25, September 1987, 9780670817665
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Faces 1966-1984 
by David Hockney and Marco Livingstone.
Thames and Hudson, 96 pp., £8.95, June 1987, 0 500 27464 9
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... looked up John Reed’s sister, Cynthia. He married her in 1948. His reputation began to flourish. Kenneth Clark was struck by one of his paintings in a group exhibition and suggested he would do well in England. It was good advice, and Nolan became an established artist in Europe. His working life became a series of journeys, sometimes back to ...

I could have fancied her

Angela Carter, 16 February 1989

Beauty in History: Society, Politics and Personal Appearance c. 1500 to the Present 
by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 480 pp., £18.95, September 1988, 0 500 25101 0
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... evidently I enjoyed rather more than did your contributor, Janet Watts (LRB, 8 December 1988), Kenneth Clark published a contribution to art history called The Nude. A disgruntled friend of mine opined that if the author had any integrity, he’d have started off his opus: ‘Wankers, ahoy!’ (Oh, the jaunty irreverence of those days of intellectual ...

Lola did the driving

Inigo Thomas: Pevsner’s Suffolk, 4 May 2016

Suffolk: East, The Buildings of England 
by James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner.
Yale, 677 pp., £35, April 2015, 978 0 300 19654 2
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... one to rise to no heroics. What is the charm, after all, but just the abyss of the familiar.’ Kenneth Clark, who grew up at Sudbourne Hall, a now demolished Wyatt house near Orford, said that what made the Dark Ages so dark was ‘the isolation, the lack of mobility, the lack of curiosity, the hopelessness’. The way some of its admirers talk about ...

Knobs, Dots and Grooves

Peter Campbell: Henry Moore, 8 August 2002

Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations 
edited by Alan Wilkinson.
Lund Humphries, 320 pp., £35, February 2002, 0 85331 847 6
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The Penguin Modern Painters: A History 
by Carol Peaker.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 124 pp., £15, August 2001, 0 9527401 4 1
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... made by way of exhibitions and the publicity that accompanies them. Nearly half a century later, Kenneth Clark, writing to Eunice Frost at Penguin about the inclusion of Braque in the Modern Painters series, which had until then featured only British artists, said: The old scheme seemed to me valuable because it helped people to understand painters ...

Affability

Nicholas Penny, 19 November 1981

Moments of Vision 
by Kenneth Clark.
Murray, 191 pp., £9.50, October 1981, 0 7195 3860 2
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... Something, as Clark himself has acknowledged, is wrong with Civilisation: with the television series and the book which made him a household name. It is not that it contains a number of gross oversimplifications, of which the most astonishing is the observation that Leonardo thought of women ‘solely as reproductive mechanisms ...

At Pallant House

Rosemary Hill: Victor Pasmore, 19 April 2017

... With Coldstream he became a founder of the Euston Road School, and financial support from Kenneth Clark, then the innovative young director of the National Gallery, allowed him to give up the day job. This is where the Pallant House exhibition begins. Pasmore’s Post-Impressionist canvases have titles, Window, Finsbury Park or The Palace ...

Churchill’s Faces

Rosemary Hill, 29 March 2017

... War that the sculptor Eric Kennington believed it could literally be a weapon. He suggested to Kenneth Clark, who chaired the War Artists Advisory Committee, that polished brass models of Churchill, filled either with propaganda leaflets or delayed-action explosives, might be dropped over Germany. Clark pointed out ...

At the V&A

Rosemary Hill: Constable , 22 October 2014

... of Constable that flatters posterity by seeming to point to Post-Impressionism and abstraction. Kenneth Clark also thought that the sketches had a ‘force of sensation’, but found the finished oils a ‘bore’. John Berger took the opposite view, that the completed works were rich in brilliant light effects, but the sketches were weakened by vague ...

The Same Old Solotaire

Peter Wollen, 4 July 1996

‘Salome’ and ‘Under the Hill’ 
by Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley.
Creation, 123 pp., £7.95, April 1996, 1 871592 12 7
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Aubrey Beardsley: Dandy of the Grotesque 
by Chris Snodgrass.
Oxford, 338 pp., £35, August 1995, 0 19 509062 4
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... as a Modernist, or at least as an important source for Modernism, was most carefully made by Kenneth Clark in the Sixties, a decade which saw its own ‘Beardsley boom’, a popular revival which accompanied op art, Beaton’s Ascot, Yellow Submarine and Performance. Clark described the drawings from Salome as ...

Bypass Variegated

Rosemary Hill: Osbert Lancaster, 21 January 2016

Osbert Lancaster’s Cartoons, Columns and Curlicues: ‘Pillar to Post’, ‘Homes Sweet Homes’, ‘Drayneflete Revealed’ 
by Osbert Lancaster.
Pimpernel, 304 pp., £40, October 2015, 978 1 910258 37 8
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... there is no attempt at fairness, which is fatal to humour. Like his friend and contemporary Kenneth Clark, Lancaster felt the Edwardians’ horrified fascination with the Victorians in general and the Gothic Revival in particular, that ‘crazy antiquarianism’ which began with Ruskin, ‘whose distinction it was to express in prose of ...

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