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Nothing if not critical 
by Robert Hughes.
Collins Harvill, 429 pp., £16, November 1990, 0 00 272075 2
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Frank Auerbach 
by Robert Hughes.
Thames and Hudson, 240 pp., £25, September 1990, 0 500 09211 7
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Figure and Abstraction in Contemporary Painting 
by Ronald Paulson.
Rutgers, 283 pp., $44.95, November 1990, 0 8135 1604 8
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... era ruled. In this desert of greed, vanity and corruption one could always rely on the tonic of Robert Hughes pieces in Time and the New York Review of Books, now collected. He lays about him splendidly, not sparing any link in the chain that tethers artists to their time, from the studio to the dealers and their pimps, and to the final rings in the ...

Big Daddy

Linda Nochlin, 30 October 1997

American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 635 pp., £35, October 1997, 9781860463723
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... of stylistic precedence and traditional modes of expression are common to both. In the case of Robert Hughes, author of the monumental American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, the artist of choice would be John Singer Sargent, brilliant pictorial chronicler of the beau monde of the 19th century. Like Sargent, ...

Hot Air

Nicholas Penny: Robert Hughes, 7 June 2007

Things I Didn’t Know: A Memoir 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 395 pp., £25, September 2006, 1 84655 014 9
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... Robert Hughes begins his autobiography, as he began his recent book on Goya, by describing the road accident in Western Australia that nearly killed him in 1999, and his subsequent ordeals in hospital and in court. In this new book he expands on the treatment he received from Australian journalists and in particular on the allegation made by a local reporter that he had referred to a prosecution lawyer descended from Indian migrants as a ‘curry muncher’, which was then repeated by a succession of other journalists ...

England rejects

V.G. Kiernan, 19 March 1987

The Fatal Shore: A History of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia, 1787-1868 
by Robert Hughes.
Collins Harvill, 688 pp., £15, January 1987, 0 00 217361 1
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Rights of Passage: Emigration to Australia in the 19th Century 
by Helen Woolcock.
Tavistock, 377 pp., £25, September 1986, 9780422602402
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... Robert Hughes has written a full-scale study, often nightmarish yet objective and well-balanced, of something second only to the slave trade as a blot on Britain’s record in the world – something that was at the same time the birth of a nation. It was ‘the largest forced exile of citizens at the behest of a European government in pre-modern history’; we may compare it with the uprootings of peoples by Assyrian or Mongol conquerors ...

The People’s Goya

Nicholas Penny: A Fascination with Atrocity, 23 September 2004

Goya 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 429 pp., £25, October 2003, 1 84343 054 1
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... Robert Hughes has a great enthusiasm for Goya’s art, which he communicates in this biography, together with much useful information, forcefully expressed, about the rival factions at the Bourbon court, the Napoleonic invasion, the evolution of bull-fighting, what a maja was, what guerrillas were. This is mixed with some less useful observations – there were in those days priests who ‘groped boys’ and were ‘quite as bad’ as their modern counterparts – and some errors, as when Hughes claims that the curls of pubic hair in the Naked Maja are certainly the earliest in Western art ...

Damn all

Scott Malcomson, 23 September 1993

Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America 
by Robert Hughes.
Oxford, 224 pp., £12.95, June 1993, 0 19 507676 1
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... or I find I lose ground ‘I am nothing, if not critical.’ The predicament is one which Robert Hughes shares with Hazlitt, of whom Keats gamely wrote: ‘if ever I am damn’d – damn me if I shouldn’t like him to damn me.’ In Culture of Complaint (a bestseller in the US), Hughes damns damn near ...

Carnival Time

Peter Craven, 18 February 1988

The Remake 
by Clive James.
Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 224 02515 5
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In the Land of Oz 
by Howard Jacobson.
Hamish Hamilton, 380 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 241 12110 8
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... The belief underlies his veneration for the great ‘talking heads’ like Lord Clark and Robert Hughes, as in a more general way it underlies his love affair with British TV ‘culture’ when it is not merely mausoleum-like. Clearly James’s feeling for British culture is that of the outsider who can dissimulate an insider’s manner, but who ...

Homage to the Provinces

Michael Wood, 28 May 1992

Barcelona 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 575 pp., £20, May 1992, 0 00 272078 7
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Barcelonas 
by Manuel Vazquez Montalban, translated by Andrew Robinson.
Verso, 210 pp., £17.95, May 1992, 0 86091 353 8
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Cities of Spain 
by David Gilmour.
Murray, 214 pp., £17.95, March 1992, 0 7195 4833 0
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Red City, Blue Period: Social Movements in Picasso’s Barcelona 
by Temma Kaplan.
California, 266 pp., $30, April 1992, 0 520 07507 2
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... associates it with solidarity. ‘The man of seny,’ we learn from a Catalan writer quoted by Hughes, ‘renounces neither salvation nor experience, and is always trying to set up a fruitful integration between both opposed, warring extremes.’ Sounds altogether reasonable, but not as if it needs a special word. What the concept actually seems to do is ...

Pooka

Frank Kermode, 16 October 1997

Jack Maggs 
by Peter Carey.
Faber, 328 pp., £15.99, September 1997, 9780571190881
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... novel. Clarke wrote about the penal settlements, more recently and more harshly described by Robert Hughes. While Carey’s hero was held in such places he was flogged with unforgettable violence, his back permanently scarred and furrowed, and two of his fingers severed. (There was a specially destructive New South Wales double ‘cat’.) Having ...

Diary

Inigo Thomas: New York Megacity, 16 August 2007

... a crisis on the horizon, but they didn’t foresee just how badly things would turn out. Nor did Robert Moses, who had been in charge of city planning since the 1920s, and whose mammoth housing projects and highways had ripped through old neighbourhoods; though he did say that if his plans for New York were abandoned, trouble was inevitable. None of them ...

Make me work if you can

T.H. Breen, 18 February 1988

Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718-1775 
by Roger Ekirch.
Oxford, 277 pp., £25, November 1987, 0 19 820092 7
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... of particular interest to anyone curious about the first British settlement of Australia, for as Robert Hughes and others have so forcefully reminded us, the closing-off of the North American market for felons after 1776 compelled London officials to find other locations where convicts could be dumped. As James Matra explained in 1783, the British ...

Picassomania

Mary Ann Caws: Roland Penrose’s notebooks, 19 October 2006

Visiting Picasso: The Notebooks and Letters of Roland Penrose 
by Elizabeth Cowling.
Thames and Hudson, 408 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 500 51293 0
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... Picasso was a force of nature, whose unique vitality was just as evident in his late work. Robert Hughes was scathing in Time magazine: The last Picassos are also the worst. It seems hardly imaginable that so great a painter could have whipped off, even in old age, such hasty and superficial doodles. One enters in homage and leaves in ...

Cuddlesome

Jenny Diski: Germaine Greer, 8 January 2004

The Boy 
by Germaine Greer.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £29.95, October 2003, 9780500238097
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... which has cost the taxpayer nothing’. But what if it had been – oh, I don’t know . . . Robert Hughes, or Rolf Harris – sitting on a bed, looming over a naked 16-year-old girl, blowing the petals away from her mons veneris? Greer’s argument that modern society has forbidden women the pleasure of boys’ bodies is almost wrecked by the ...

Men at Work

Tom Lubbock, 12 January 1995

Looking at Giacometti 
by David Sylvester.
Chatto, 256 pp., £25, October 1994, 9780701162528
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... need evidently felt by its audience for authoritative/enthusiastic communicators (Kenneth Clark, Robert Hughes, Wendy Beckett) which no other artistic public feels – though these things are doubtless relevant. I mean the priority given to a mode of address: when the critic performs, not by talking to us about work to which we’re both assumed to have ...

On Putting Things Off

Robert Hanks, 9 September 2015

... in the relationship. While this was going on the LRB commissioned me to write about Richard Hughes, who wrote A High Wind in Jamaica. I like Hughes and it seemed like a job I could get on with. I cheerfully settled to the research, reading the novels I hadn’t read, rereading the ones I had. Then I started ...

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