FRY Roger Eliot
( 1866-1934). Eminent English art critic, little shown as a painter; born and died in London. Fry studied Natural Sciences (taking a first-class degree) at King's College, Cambridge, but gave up this field for art. He went to Rome in 1891, where he was profoundly influenced by Raphael and Michelangelo, and then to the Académie Julian, Paris, in 1892. He again visited Italy in 1894, and wrote essays on Bellini and Giotto. In 1905 he published a critical edition of Sir Joshua Reynolds Discourses. Unable to find a suitable position in England, he accepted that of Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1905. (He returned to London five years later.) He wrote a study of Cézanne, published in 1906, and became interested in the work of Gauguin, Matisse. Van Gogh and Maillol. It was Roger Fry (together with Clive Bell) who aroused an interest among the English-speaking peoples in what he aptly named 'post-Impressionism', with his two Grafton Gallery Shows in 1910 and 1912, the equivalent of the American Armory Show of 1913. In 1933 he was appointed Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge, and died the following year.
Fry had a vast enthusiasm for, and an intellectual understanding of art, but little, but little creative ability. As a painter he was soon forgotten. In his views on art he was elastic and always open to new ideas. His many short studies and articles on the subject of art and artists are of great interest. His honesty and lack of conservative won him lasting respect as a sensitive, perceptive and helpful critic.
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