Art Critics

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Art critics are the people who specialize in analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating art in the context of aesthetics or the theory of beauty. Art criticism holds a significant place in understanding the nuances of art, and strives to pursue a rational basis for appreciation of art. Art criticism is probably as old as the history of art itself, though the term was coined much later, in the 18th century. English painter Jonathan Richardson is credited to have coined the term 'art criticism' in 1719. Regarded as one of the three foremost painters of his time, he also wrote extensively on art. Along with his son, he wrote the book ‘An Account of Some of the Statues, Bas-Reliefs, Drawings, and Pictures in Italy,’ now considered a masterpiece on art criticism. Another renowned art critic was John Ruskin, widely regarded the leading English art critic of the Victorian era. He was especially influential in the latter half of the 19th century. American John Hoyer Updike, Arthur Coleman Danto, and Karen Wilkin are counted amongst the famed art critics of the 20th century. Coming to the contemporary era, Eleanor Heartney, Rebecca Solnit, and David Hickey are the most influential art critics. Browse on to know about the famous art critics from all over the world.
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 1 
Charles Baudelaire
(French Poet Known for His Handling of Rhyme & Rhythm and His Book 'Les Fleurs du mal')
Charles Baudelaire
4
Birthdate: April 9, 1821
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 31, 1867
French prose poet, essayist, and critic Charles Baudelaire was one of the first translators of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Best known for his book of poems Les Fleurs du mal, he is believed to have coined the word modernity and was associated with the symbolist and decadent movements.
 2 
Denis Diderot
(French Philosopher, Co-Founder and Chief Editor of the ‘Encyclopédie’)
Denis Diderot
4
Birthdate: October 5, 1713
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Langres, France
Died: July 31, 1784

Denis Diderot revolutionized the Age of Enlightenment as the co-founder of Encyclopédie, which was banned for questioning religion. He had flirted with the idea of joining the theater and becoming a priest, and even studied law, but later devoted himself to languages, literature, and philosophy.

 3 
Sergei Diaghilev
(Russian Art Critic, Ballet Impresario and Founder of the 'Ballets Russes')
Sergei Diaghilev
4
Birthdate: March 31, 1872
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chudovsky District, Russia
Died: August 19, 1929

Sergei Diaghilev was a Russian ballet impresario, patron, and art critic. He is credited with founding the popular ballet company Ballets Russes, which has produced some of the greatest and popular choreographers and dancers like Tamara Karsavina, Lydia Sokolova, Serge Lifar, and Alicia Markova. Sergei Diaghilev is remembered for placing the needs of his company and dancers above his own.

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 4 
Jacqueline Roque
(Best known as the muse and second wife of Pablo Picasso)
Jacqueline Roque
4
Birthdate: February 24, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 15, 1986
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 5 
Isabella Stewart Gardner
4
Birthdate: April 14, 1840
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City
Died: July 17, 1924
 6 
Tom Verlaine
(Guitarist, Singer, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter)
Tom Verlaine
4
Birthdate: December 13, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Morristown
 7 
Robbie Ross
(Journalist)
Robbie Ross
4
Birthdate: May 25, 1869
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tours, France
Died: October 5, 1918
 8 
Waldemar Januszczak
4
Birthdate: January 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Basingstoke
 9 
Joris-Karl Huysmans
(Art critic, Novelist)
Joris-Karl Huysmans
4
Birthdate: February 5, 1848
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 12, 1907
 10 
Frederick R. Koch
(Former philanthropist, Founder of Koch Industries)
Frederick R. Koch
6
Birthdate: August 26, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States
Died: February 12, 2020
 11 
Brian Sewell
(journalist, autobiographer, art critic, art historian)
Brian Sewell
3
Birthdate: June 15, 1931
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London
Died: September 19, 2015
 12 
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
(German Writer, Dramatist, Art Critic and a Spokesperson of the Enlightenment Era)
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
4
Birthdate: January 22, 1729
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kamenz, Germany
Died: February 15, 1781

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a noted German dramatist, critic, and author, remembered especially for his contribution towards liberating German theatre from the influence of its classical and French counterpart. Known for such literary masterpieces like Miss Sara Sampson; Emilia Galotti; Minna von Barnhelm; Nathan the Wise; Laocoön; Hamburg Dramaturgy, he is now considered an outstanding representative of the Enlightenment era.

 13 
Clement Greenberg
(Art collector, Art historian, Art critic, Journalist)
Clement Greenberg
3
Birthdate: January 16, 1909
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City
Died: May 7, 1994
 14 
Lina Lazaar
(Art critic, Writer)
Lina Lazaar
4
Birthdate: 1983 AD
Birthplace: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
 15 
Mimi Gardner Gates
6
Birthdate: 1943 AD
 16 
Louis Aragon
(Former surrealist writer, co-founded with André Breton and Philippe Soupault the surrealist review Littérature)
Louis Aragon
3
Birthdate: October 3, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 24, 1982
 17 
Frank O'Hara
4
Birthdate: March 27, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore, Maryland
Died: July 25, 1966
 18 
Jean Metzinger
3
Birthdate: June 24, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: November 3, 1956
 19 
Clive Bell
(Art Critic)
Clive Bell
3
Birthdate: September 16, 1881
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: East Shefford, England
Died: September 18, 1964
 20 
Félix Vallotton
(Former artist and painter known for his paintings of nudes and interiors and in particular for his distinctive woodcuts)
Félix Vallotton
3
Birthdate: December 28, 1865
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: December 29, 1925

Born in Switzerland, Félix Vallotton later moved to Paris to study art and grew to be one of the prominent members of the Les Nabis. Renowned for his woodcuts, he mostly focused on nudes and interiors. Politically conscious, he often infused political themes in his art, such as The Demonstration.

 21 
Camille Doncieux
(painter, model)
Camille Doncieux
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1847
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died: September 5, 1879
 22 
Arthur Danto
(Art critic)
Arthur Danto
5
Birthdate: January 1, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Died: October 25, 2013
 23 
Robert Hughes
(Art Critic, Writer)
Robert Hughes
3
Birthdate: July 28, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Died: August 6, 2012

Although he had initially aspired to study law and architecture, Robert Hughes later dropped out of university and began drawing cartoons for various newspapers. After establishing himself as an art critic, he wrote bestsellers such as The Fatal Shore and created shows such as The Shock of the New.

 24 
Mark Beech
(Author)
Mark Beech
3
Birthdate: 1959 AD
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Died: April 27, 2020
 25 
Herbert Read
(Art Historian)
Herbert Read
3
Birthdate: December 4, 1893
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Muscoates, England
Died: June 12, 1968
 26 
Gottfried Semper
(Architect)
Gottfried Semper
3
Birthdate: November 29, 1803
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Altona, Hamburg, Germany
Died: May 15, 1879
 27 
Okakura Kakuzō
(Art critic)
Okakura Kakuzō
3
Birthdate: February 14, 1862
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yokohama, Japan
Died: September 2, 1913
 28 
Larry Gagosian
(Art collector)
Larry Gagosian
3
Birthdate: April 19, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles
 29 
Rosalind E. Krauss
(Art Critic)
Rosalind E. Krauss
3
Birthdate: November 30, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 30 
Dan Graham
(Artist)
Dan Graham
3
Birthdate: March 31, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Urbana, Illinois
 31 
Jerry Saltz
(Senior Art Critic and Columnist for New York Magazine)
Jerry Saltz
3
Birthdate: February 19, 1951
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States
 32 
Octave Mirbeau
(Novelist)
Octave Mirbeau
3
Birthdate: February 16, 1848
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Trévières, France
Died: February 16, 1917
 33 
S.S. Van Dine
(Art Critic)
S.S. Van Dine
3
Birthdate: October 15, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
Died: April 11, 1939
 34 
Michael Fried
(Art critic, Art historian, Historian, University teacher, Journalist)
Michael Fried
3
Birthdate: April 12, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City
 35 
Léon Werth
(Writer)
Léon Werth
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Remiremont, France
Died: December 13, 1955
 36 
Hal Foster
(art historian, university teacher, journalist)
Hal Foster
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1955
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Seattle
 37 
Ambroise Vollard
(Art Dealer)
Ambroise Vollard
2
Birthdate: July 3, 1866
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Denis, Réunion
Died: July 22, 1939
 38 
Patrick Heron
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Headingley, England
Died: March 20, 1999
 39 
Sacheverell Sitwell
3
Birthdate: November 15, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Scarborough, England
Died: October 1, 1988
 40 
Poul Henningsen
2
Birthdate: September 9, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ordrup, Denmark
Died: January 31, 1967
 41 
Lucy R. Lippard
2
Birthdate: April 14, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
 42 
Harold Rosenberg
2
Birthdate: February 2, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: July 11, 1978
 43 
Boris Groys
(Art Critic)
Boris Groys
2
Birthdate: March 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
 44 
Nicolas Bourriaud
2
Birthdate: April 13, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Niort, France
 45 
Okwui Enwezor
(Nigerian Writer, Poet, Art Critic, Curator, and Educator.)
Okwui Enwezor
3
Birthdate: October 23, 1963
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Calabar, Nigeria
Died: March 15, 2019
Okwui Enwezor was a Nigerian writer, poet, art critic, curator, and educator. Enwezor, who specialized in art history, was honored with the Frank Jewett Mather Award in 2006. In 2014, Okwui Enwezor was mentioned in ArtReview magazine's 100 most powerful people of the art world list.
 46 
Gelett Burgess
(American Artist, Writer and Key Figure in the San Francisco Bay Area Literary Renaissance in the 1890s)
Gelett Burgess
2
Birthdate: January 30, 1866
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boston, United States
Died: September 18, 1951

Gelett Burgess was an American poet, artist, art critic, author, and humorist. He is credited with introducing French modern art to the USA. He is also credited with coining the term blurb. In 1891, he established the San Francisco Boys' Club Association which was later renamed Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco. 

 47 
Fairfield Porter
2
Birthdate: June 10, 1907
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Winnetka, Illinois, United States
Died: September 18, 1975
 48 
Coosje van Bruggen
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Groningen, Netherlands
Died: January 10, 2009

Dutch-American sculptor Coosje van Bruggen is best known for her collaborations with her sculptor husband, Claes Oldenburg. Their works include Shuttlecocks at the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park and Flashlight at the University of Nevada. She has also penned several books and been a sculpture critic at Yale University.

Friedrich Melchior, baron von Grimm
2
Birthdate: December 26, 1723
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Regensburg, Germany
Died: December 19, 1807
 50 
Maurice Bardèche
(Art critic)
Maurice Bardèche
2
Birthdate: October 1, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dun-sur-Auron, France
Died: July 30, 1998