Robert Hughes – The Australian Art Critic of High Order

Robert Hughes created an insightful television documentary called ‘The Shock of New,’ for BBC, which reflected on the evolution of Modern Art. He even wrote a book by the same name, which was published in 1981. Hughes wrote some brilliant books on art history as well, for e.g. ‘The Art of Australia’ (1966) and ‘The Epic History of Art in America’ (1997). His other book ‘The Fatal Shore’ based on British penal colonies went on to become an international best seller. Hughes made several other documentaries mostly involving artists or art histories (like American visions and one on Francisco Goya). Robert Hughes was highly opinionated. He is known for his straightforwardness.

Personal Life
While in London, Hughes married Danne Patricia Emerson in 1967. Later that year she gave birth to their son Danton. The marriage however did not last long and they were divorced by the end of 1981. Soon, Hughes married Victoria Whistler. Unfortunately, that marriage too ended in 1996. Robert Hughes saw a series of unfortunate incidences in the last 2 decades. He had a major nervous breakdown in 1997. In 1999, while filming for a documentary in Australia he had a fatal road accident. The collision left him badly injured and even in coma for a few weeks. He was fined for irresponsible aged care certificate driving and was even banned from driving for three years. Tragedy struck in 2001 when his son Danton committed suicide at the young age of 33. His death tremendously distressed the art critic.

Robert Hughes last wrote an interesting memoir in 2006 titled ‘Things I didn’t Know.’ These days he stays in New York with his wife of 10 years, artist Doris Downes and continues to write for TIME magazine occasionally.

Annette Labedzki received her BFA at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. She has more than 25 years experience. She is the founder and developer of an online art gallery featuring original art from all over the world.

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