Robert Hughes - Critics & Connoisseurs, Career and Childhood

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Robert Hughes's Personal Details

Robert Hughes was an Australian-born art critic and writer

InformationDetail
BirthdayJuly 28, 1938
Died onAugust 6, 2012
NationalityAustralian
FamousCritics & Connoisseurs, Art Critics, TV Presenters, Writers
SpousesDanne Patricia Emerson (m. 1967–1981), Doris Downes (m. 2001–2012), Victoria Hughes (m. 1981–2001)
SiblingsThomas Eyre Forrest Hughes
Known asRobert Studley Forrest Hughes
Childrens Danton Hughes, Fielder Douglas Jewett, Freeborn Garrettson Jewett IV
Universities
  • Saint Ignatius College
  • University of Sydney
Birth PlaceSydney, Australia
GenderMale
FatherGeoffrey Forrest Hughes
MotherMargaret Eyre Sealy
Sun SignLeo
Born inSydney, Australia
Famous asArt Critic, Writer
Died at Age74

// Famous Art Critics

Robert Hughes's photo

Who is Robert Hughes?

Robert Studley Forrest Hughes was an Australia-born art critic, author and producer of television documentaries. He was an outspokenly expressive and controversial art critic who lived his literary life with an inspirational flair that he owed to artist Francisco Goya, a self confessed artistic motivation. He was as famous on the television as he was in the print media and spent over three decades of his life working as the chief art critic of TIME magazine in New York. With his insightful books and documentaries, Hughes delved into the history of various artistic revolutions in the west and the development of society along with it. Over the years his favorite topic remained Australia, where he was born and brought up, and wrote several books on the artistic side of the country as well as its history of British penal colonies and early European settlement. Other recurring subjects of his prolific writings were Goya, Lucian Freud, fishing, the history of American art, the city of Barcelona and himself. For his exceptional contribution to art, literature and television, Hughes was awarded with honors like, Officer of the Order of Australia, International Emmy Award, etc.

// Famous Critics & Connoisseurs

Childhood & Early Life

Robert Hughes was born on 28 July 1938, in Sydney to Geoffrey Forrest Hughes and Margaret Eyre Sealy. His father was a pilot in the WWI and a lawyer. He died of lung cancer when Hughes was only 12 years old.

While he was growing up, Hughes was expected to become a lawyer as his father and grandfather both were prominent lawyers. He attended St. Ignatius College in Riverview, Australia, and later attended the University of Sydney.

At the University of Sydney Hughes pursued art and architecture, but dropped out of college soon after to take up a job as a cartoonist for the periodical, ‘The Observer’. He was made the art critic at the magazine.

Career

While still working as a art critic with ‘The Observer’, Hughes wrote a piece on the history of Australian painting—‘The Art of Australia’ in 1966. He also contributed to the ‘Oz’ magazine, ‘The Nation’, and ‘the Sunday Mirror’.

Around the same time, he travelled to Europe and settled permanently in London in 1965. It was in London that he wrote for ‘The Spectator’, ‘The Daily Telegraph’, ‘The Times’’, the London-version of ‘Oz’ and ‘The Observer’.

In 1970, Hughes moved to New York, when he was recruited as an art critic by the ‘TIME’ magazine—which he described as a ‘shot in the dark’ both by him and the magazine.

Things went well at the ‘TIME’ and Hughes was hired as a commentator on ABC’s news magazine program ‘20/20’ in 1978. But after the recording of first tape, he was fired and replaced by veteran TV host Hugh Downs.

In 1980, he co-produced, with German producer Reiner Moritz and Lorna Pegram, BBC eight-part series ‘The Shock of the New’. It was based on his book with the same title; the series looked into the development of Modern art.

Hughes published his next book ‘The Fatal Shore’ in 1987 - a book that reviewed the history of British penal colonies and early European settlement of Australia. The book soon became an international bestseller.

In 1997, another of Hughes’ television series ‘American Visions’ released, which evaluated the history of American art since Revolution.

This was followed by documentaries in the 2000s––‘Australian: Beyond the Fatal Shore (2000)’, which was a series of ruminations on modern Australia, and ‘Goya: Crazy Like a Genius (2002), a documentary on Francisco Goya—his favorite artist.

Towards the end of his life, he created a one-hour long update to ‘The Shock of the New’ called ‘The New Shock of the New (2004)’ and published the first part of his memoir, ‘Things I didn’t Know (2006)’.

Major Works

‘The Shock of the New’, created by Hughes in 1980 and produced by BBC, is Hughes’ most prominent work. It was based on the development of modern art since the Impressionists and was accompanied by a book with the same title.

Awards & Achievements

Hughes was honored with accolades like: Frank Jewett Mather Award (1982), Golden Plate Award (1988), Officer of the Order of Australia (1991), Membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1996), Grierson Award (2009), International Emmy Award (2009), etc.

Personal Life & Legacy

Hughes was married to Danne Emerson from 1967-1981. The couple met in London and explored the counterculture, of the 1960s, of exploring drug use and sexual freedom together. They had a son Danton Hughes.

He got married for the second time to Victoria Whistler in California. They remained married from 1981-1996.

Hughes third marriage took place in 2001, to Doris Downes, an American artist and art director. The couple remained married until his death. He became stepfather to Downes’ sons - Freeborn Garrettson Jewett IV and Fielder Douglas Jewett.

He died at Calvary Hospital in The Bronx, New York, in 2012 after suffering from a long illness.

Trivia

Hughes faced a near-fatal car accident in south of Broome, Western Australia in 1999. He was driving on the wrong side of the road, while returning from a fishing trip, and collided with another car. He was in coma for 5 weeks. He, ultimately, pled guilty to dangerous driving in 2003 and was fined 2,500 Australian dollars.

Hughes' son, Danton Hughes, a sculptor, committed suicide in 2002.

// Famous Writers

Robert Hughes awards

YearNameAward

Other

1988 – named recipient of the American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award.
1988 – W. H. Smith Literary Award for The Fatal Shore
2000 – London Sunday Times Writer of the Year
2007 – New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for non-fiction
2009 –
1982 – Frank Jewett Mather Award for art criticism
given by the College Art Association of America.
1985 – second Frank Jewett Mather Award

Robert Hughes biography timelines

  • // 28th Jul 1938
    Robert Hughes was born on 28 July 1938, in Sydney to Geoffrey Forrest Hughes and Margaret Eyre Sealy. His father was a pilot in the WWI and a lawyer. He died of lung cancer when Hughes was only 12 years old.
  • // 1965
    Around the same time, he travelled to Europe and settled permanently in London in 1965. It was in London that he wrote for ‘The Spectator’, ‘The Daily Telegraph’, ‘The Times’’, the London-version of ‘Oz’ and ‘The Observer’.
  • // 1966
    While still working as a art critic with ‘The Observer’, Hughes wrote a piece on the history of Australian painting—‘The Art of Australia’ in 1966. He also contributed to the ‘Oz’ magazine, ‘The Nation’, and ‘the Sunday Mirror’.
  • // 1967 To 1981
    Hughes was married to Danne Emerson from 1967-1981. The couple met in London and explored the counterculture, of the 1960s, of exploring drug use and sexual freedom together. They had a son Danton Hughes.
  • // 1970
    In 1970, Hughes moved to New York, when he was recruited as an art critic by the ‘TIME’ magazine—which he described as a ‘shot in the dark’ both by him and the magazine.
  • // 1978
    Things went well at the ‘TIME’ and Hughes was hired as a commentator on ABC’s news magazine program ‘20/20’ in 1978. But after the recording of first tape, he was fired and replaced by veteran TV host Hugh Downs.
  • // 1980
    In 1980, he co-produced, with German producer Reiner Moritz and Lorna Pegram, BBC eight-part series ‘The Shock of the New’. It was based on his book with the same title; the series looked into the development of Modern art.
  • // 1980
    ‘The Shock of the New’, created by Hughes in 1980 and produced by BBC, is Hughes’ most prominent work. It was based on the development of modern art since the Impressionists and was accompanied by a book with the same title.
  • // 1981 To 1996
    He got married for the second time to Victoria Whistler in California. They remained married from 1981-1996.
  • // 1982 To 2009
    Hughes was honored with accolades like: Frank Jewett Mather Award (1982), Golden Plate Award (1988), Officer of the Order of Australia (1991), Membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1996), Grierson Award (2009), International Emmy Award (2009), etc.
  • // 1987
    Hughes published his next book ‘The Fatal Shore’ in 1987 - a book that reviewed the history of British penal colonies and early European settlement of Australia. The book soon became an international bestseller.
  • // 1997
    In 1997, another of Hughes’ television series ‘American Visions’ released, which evaluated the history of American art since Revolution.
  • // 1999 To 2003
    Hughes faced a near-fatal car accident in south of Broome, Western Australia in 1999. He was driving on the wrong side of the road, while returning from a fishing trip, and collided with another car. He was in coma for 5 weeks. He, ultimately, pled guilty to dangerous driving in 2003 and was fined 2,500 Australian dollars.
  • // 2000 To 2002
    This was followed by documentaries in the 2000s––‘Australian: Beyond the Fatal Shore (2000)’, which was a series of ruminations on modern Australia, and ‘Goya: Crazy Like a Genius (2002), a documentary on Francisco Goya—his favorite artist.
  • // 2001
    Hughes third marriage took place in 2001, to Doris Downes, an American artist and art director. The couple remained married until his death. He became stepfather to Downes’ sons - Freeborn Garrettson Jewett IV and Fielder Douglas Jewett.
  • // 2002
    Hughes' son, Danton Hughes, a sculptor, committed suicide in 2002.
  • // 2004 To 2006
    Towards the end of his life, he created a one-hour long update to ‘The Shock of the New’ called ‘The New Shock of the New (2004)’ and published the first part of his memoir, ‘Things I didn’t Know (2006)’.
  • // 6th Aug 2012
    He died at Calvary Hospital in The Bronx, New York, in 2012 after suffering from a long illness.

// Famous TV Presenters

Robert Hughes's FAQ

  • What is Robert Hughes birthday?

    Robert Hughes was born at 1938-07-28

  • When was Robert Hughes died?

    Robert Hughes was died at 2012-08-06

  • Where was Robert Hughes died?

    Robert Hughes was died in The Bronx, New York

  • Which age was Robert Hughes died?

    Robert Hughes was died at age 74

  • Where is Robert Hughes's birth place?

    Robert Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia

  • What is Robert Hughes nationalities?

    Robert Hughes's nationalities is Australian

  • Who is Robert Hughes spouses?

    Robert Hughes's spouses is Danne Patricia Emerson (m. 1967–1981), Doris Downes (m. 2001–2012), Victoria Hughes (m. 1981–2001)

  • Who is Robert Hughes siblings?

    Robert Hughes's siblings is Thomas Eyre Forrest Hughes

  • Who is Robert Hughes childrens?

    Robert Hughes's childrens is Danton Hughes, Fielder Douglas Jewett, Freeborn Garrettson Jewett IV

  • What was Robert Hughes universities?

    Robert Hughes studied at Saint Ignatius College, University of Sydney

  • Who is Robert Hughes's father?

    Robert Hughes's father is Geoffrey Forrest Hughes

  • Who is Robert Hughes's mother?

    Robert Hughes's mother is Margaret Eyre Sealy

  • What is Robert Hughes's sun sign?

    Robert Hughes is Leo

  • How famous is Robert Hughes?

    Robert Hughes is famouse as Art Critic, Writer