Posted by: Lisa Hill | August 7, 2012

Vale Robert Hughes (1938-2012)

I was saddened today to learn of the death of the Australian author and art critic Robert Hughes, aged only 74.

For many of us he was the art critic who spoke a language we could all understand, and he showed us how to appreciate modern art with his book The Shock of the New.  He wrote a marvellous popular history of Australia’s days as a penal colony, The Fatal Shore, and he wrote two gorgeous books about the art, architecture and history of Barcelona and of Rome.  (You can see my review of Barcelona hereRome is on my TBR, and I hope to read and review it before long.

He will be sadly missed.


  1. May his soul rest in peace

  2. I was sad to hear this, too, Lisa. He was outspoken but I think that’s probably why I liked him so much: he never did pull his punches!

  3. I too was shocked and saddened by the news. I too liked his outspoken opinions. Outspoken they may have been but accurate all the same.

    • Yes, I thought so too, after all, would our media have taken any notice of him if he weren’t outspoken?

  4. Anyone who can show us “how to appreciate modern art” is much needed. I know I’ve read “The Shock of the New” a lot, and bought “The Fatal Shore” a long time ago but haven’t read it yet.

    • Did you see the more recent series about American art, Tony? That was great too.
      I read in the paper today that Peter Carey is berating Australians for not appreciating Robert Hughes, but I think he’s wrong about that. Everyone of my generation that I know of, watched that series and thought he was wonderful.


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