The Art History Newsletter

Obits: Brian Stewart and Roy Neuberger

by | 28 December 2010 | Uncategorized

As Falmouth Art Gallery director, Brian Stewart “proved that small galleries can have a mighty impact,” writes the Guardian:

Supported by a dedicated team, he masterminded groundbreaking exhibitions such as The Surrealists On Holiday (2004), inspired by the time spent in Cornwall by Lee Miller, Roland Penrose, Man Ray and others in 1937, and a series of exhibitions in 2009 marking Charles Darwin’s bicentenary. In the gallery it was not unusual to see a Picasso hanging alongside the work of a local artist (Brian championed contemporary Cornish art), next to a toddler’s scribbled response … [He] was widely recognised as an authority on British portraiture, advising the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London among others. The Dictionary of Portrait Painters in Britain Up to 1920, written with Mervyn Cutten and published in 1997, is the standard reference book on the subject. Brian produced 20 books and catalogues, including The Shayer Family of Painters (1981) and Rupert: The Rupert Bear Dossier (1997) … The day before he died, he was celebrating his latest success from his hospital bed, having secured funding to buy a Tacita Dean painting for the gallery.

According to The New York Times, “Roy R. Neuberger, who drew on youthful passions for stock trading and art to build one of Wall Street’s most venerable partnerships and one of the country’s largest private collections of 20th-century masterpieces, died on Friday at his home at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. He was 107 and had lived in New York City for 101 years.” Neuberger’s memoirs include colorful reminiscences of artists and art historians he knew. In The Passionate Collector (2003) he writes:

One July evening in 1926, I entered the Café des Deux Magots and noticed a young man under verbal assault by some pseudo-intellectuals who were baiting him … His name was Meyer Schapiro, he was twenty-one years old, a year younger than I was … In this architectural debate at the café, Meyer’s adversaries were trying to trip him up in a discussion of the flying buttress. Meyer said that this motif, revealed in the artistic rendering of a horse with its legs extended out both in front and in back, impossible in reality, first appeared in two works a thousand miles apart. The two artists could not possible have known each other, or been familiar with each other’s work. This kind of coincidence has occurred many times in history … Meyer Schapiro was a vigorous, extremely knowledgeable speaker, a fanatical salesman of ideas, and a pretty good painter as well. He came out fine in the debate and we became instant friends.