- Roger Fry
Roger Eliot Fry (14 December 1866 –
9 September 1934) was an English artist and an art critic, and a member of the Bloomsbury group. Despite establishing his reputation as a scholar of the Old Masters, as he matured as a critic he became an advocate of more recent developments in French painting, to which he gave the name Post-Impressionism. The first figure to raise public awareness of modern artin Britain, he was described by the art historian Kenneth Clarkas "incomparably the greatest influence on taste since Ruskin... In so far as taste can be changed by one man, it was changed by Roger Fry".
London, the son of the judge Edward Fry, he grew up in a wealthy Quakerfamily. Before going up to Cambridge, Fry was educated at Clifton College. Fry studied at King's College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the Cambridge Apostles. After taking a first in the Natural Science tripos, he went to Parisand then Italyto study art. Eventually he specialised in landscape painting.
In 1896, he married the artist
Helen Coombeand they subsequently had two children, Pamela and Julian. However, Helen soon became seriously mentally ill. In 1910, she was committed to a mental institution, where she remained for the rest of her life. Fry took over the care of their children on his own.
In 1911, Fry began an affair with
Vanessa Bell, who was then experiencing a difficult recovery from the birth of her son Quentin. Fry offered her the tenderness and care she felt was lacking from her husband, Clive Bell. They remained lifelong close friends, even though Roger's heart was broken in 1913 when Vanessa fell in love with Duncan Grantand decided to live permanently with him.
After short affairs with such artists as
Nina Hamnettand Josette Coatmellec, Roger too found happiness with Helen Maitland Anrep. She became his emotional anchor for the rest of his life, although they never married (she too had had an unhappy first marriage, to the mosaicist Boris Anrep).
Fry died very unexpectedly due to a fall at his home. His death caused great sorrow among the members of the
Bloomsbury Group, who loved him for his generosity and warmth. Vanessa Belldecorated his casket before he was buried at Kings College Chapel in Cambridge. Virginia Woolf, Vanessa's sister, novelist and a close friend of Roger as well, was entrusted with writing his biography, published in 1940.
In the 1900s, Fry started to teach art history at the
Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.
In 1906 Fry was appointed Curator of Paintings at the
Metropolitan Museum of Artin New York. This was also the year in which he "discovered" the art of Paul Cézanne, beginning the shift in his scholarly interests away from the Italian Old Masters and towards modern French art.
In 1910, Fry organised the exhibition "Manet and the Post-Impressionists" (a term which he coined) at the Grafton Galleries, London. Despite the derision with which the exhibition was met, Fry followed it up with the "Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition" in 1912. It was patronised by Lady
Ottoline Morrell, with whom Fry had a fleeting romantic attachment.
In 1913 he founded the
Omega Workshops, a design workshop based in London's Fitzroy Square, whose members included Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. In 1933, he was later appointed the Slade Professor at Cambridge, a position that Fry had much desired.
*"Vision and Design" (1920)
Cézanne. A Study of His Development" (1927)
Henri Matisse" (1930)
*"French Art" (1932)
*"Reflections on British Painting" (1934)
Virginia Woolf, "Roger Fry: a biography" (1940) ISBN 0-15-678520-X
Frances Spalding, "Roger Fry, art and life" (1980) ISBN 0-520-04126-7
* [http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/fry_roger.html Roger Fry at artcyclopedia.com]
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Fry, Roger Eliot
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Art critic and painter
DATE OF BIRTH=14 December 1866
PLACE OF BIRTH=
London, England, United Kingdom
DATE OF DEATH=
9 September 1934
PLACE OF DEATH=
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