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Kenneth Clark
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Author
    (July 13, 1903-May 21, 1983)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Art historian
    Director of the National Gallery (1934-46)
    Surveyor of the King's Pictures (1934-44)
    Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford (1946-50)
    Chair of the Arts Council of Great Britain (1953-60)
    Chancellor of the University of York (1967-78)
    Wrote 'The Gothic Revival' (1928), 'Landscape Into Art' (1949), 'The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form' (1956), 'Looking at Pictures' (1960), 'Ruskin Today' (1966), 'Blake and Visionary Art' (1973) and 'What Is A Masterpiece?' (1979)
    Hosted the TV documentaries 'Civilisation' (1969) and 'The Romantic Rebellion' (1973)
    Named a life peer as Baron Clark of Saltwood (1969)
    He came from 'the idle rich.' (And joked that while there were many families richer than the one he came from, there were few that were more idle.)
    He bought a castle.
    His bearing was described as 'patrician arrogance.'
    He became so upset during a tour of Andy Warhol's Factory, it triggered a sneezing fit. (His son Colin noted, 'He simply could not conceive that Andy's silk-screened Brillo boxes were serious art.')
    He believed galleries needed to make art accessible and understandable to as many people as possible.
    The Guardian called him 'a brilliant wordsmith, the most seductive writer on art since Ruskin.'
    He said, 'If I had to say which was telling the truth about society, a speech by a minister of housing or the actual buildings put up in his times, I should believe the buildings.'
    He received notes from nine would-be suicides telling him that 'Civilisation' had given them a reason to go on living.

Credit: C. Fishel


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