The papers of art critic, author, and historian, Robert Hughes measure 16.6 linear feet and date from 1952 to 2012. The collection provides a glimpse of Hughes' personal life and documents his extensive career through biographical material, personal and professional correspondence, interviews, journals, writings, project files related to books and television programs, research files, personal business records, printed material, and photographic material.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of art critic, author, and historian, Robert Hughes measure 16.60 linear feet and date from 1952 to 2012. The collection provides a glimpse of Hughes' personal life and documents his extensive career through biographical material, personal and professional correspondence, interviews, journals, writings, project files related to books and television programs, research files, personal business records, printed material, and photographic material.
Biographical material includes address books and day planners, stationery, sound recordings, memoirs, academic memorabilia, and a scrapbook documenting the National Gallery of Australia's tenth birthday in 1992. Correspondence includes letters, emails, and post cards from personal and professional contacts, including friends, family, colleagues, and fans. Interviews include video and sound recordings, transcripts, and clippings related to Robert Hughes interviewing others or Robert Hughes being interviewed for various publications and television programs. Journals include excerpts from the 1970s and sound recordings that document Hughes' travels around the world. Writings include notes, notebooks, and draft articles, essays, lectures, speeches, and manuscripts written by Hughes. Some of the lectures were recorded. Project files include clippings, transcripts, draft scripts, digital files, sound and video recordings, photographs, proposals, outlines, notes and correspondence related to various publications and television programs. Research files include notes, correspondence, drafts, clippings, translations, and a sound recording of Australian convict ballads. Personal business records include sound recordings, photographs, legal files, a description of events related to a 1999 car crash that left Hughes in critical condition, lists of travel expenses and publications, a lecture contract, email correspondence related to litigation, and legal files related to a defamation claim and some of Hughes' writings. Printed material includes clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, press releases, and a published poem. Photographic material includes slides, photographs, and negatives documenting Hughes' travels, friends, family, his Shelter Island home, self-portraits, and works of art.
The collection is arranged as 11 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1955-2007 (1.05 linear feet; Box 1, 16, 21)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1952-2012 (1.40 linear feet, Box 1-2, 21)
Series 2: Sub-Series 1: Personal, 1952-2012 (0.50 linear feet; Box 1, 21)
Series 2: Sub-Series 2: Professional, 1966-2012 (0.90 linear feet; Box 2, 21)
Series 3: Interviews, 1971-2006 (0.64 linear feet; Box 2, 17, 21-22)
Series 4: Journals, circa 1970-1987 (0.41 linear feet; Box 2, 22-23)
Series 5: Writings, 1960-2009 (2.05 linear feet, Box 1, 3-4, 23)
Series 6: Project Files, 1961-circa 2008 (7.74 linear feet, Box 5-9, 13-20, 23)
Series 7: Research Files, 1962-2000 (0.65 linear feet, Box 9-10, 23)
Series 8: Personal Business Records, 1972-2007 (0.30 linear feet, Box 10)
Series 9: Printed Material, 1959-2008 (0.51; Box 10-11, 14)
Series 10: Photographical Material, 1973-2006 (0.70 linear feet, Box 11)
Series 11: Unidentified Audiovisual and Born-Digital Materials (Box 11, 12, 23)
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Studley Forrest Hughes (1938-2012) was an art critic, author, and historian based in New York, New York. Born in Sydney, Australia, Hughes attended St. Ignatius College and Sydney University, where he studied art and architecture. After a stint as an abstract expressionist painter, Hughes worked as a political cartoonist before becoming a full-time art critic. He lived in Italy and London and traveled extensively throughout Europe before moving to New York City in 1970, where he lived until his death in 2012. Hughes was best known for the 1980s television series, "Shock of the New," where he explored the development of modern art, and for his longstanding position with TIME Magazine. Throughout his career, Hughes published several books, including his 2006 memoir where he recounted the story of his near fatal accident in 1999, and wrote and presented multiple documentary style television series and films.
Donated in 2021 by Doris Downes, Robert Hughes' widow.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
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Letters, writings, exhibition and symposium files regarding the career of Joe Shannon as an exhibition designer, painter, and curator. Letters are from R. B. Kitaj, Sandra Fisher, Abram Lerner, Avigdor Arikha, Francisco Alvarado-Juárez, Isabel McIlvain, Raphael Soyer and others. Writings include drafts of published and unpublished articles, lectures, and reviews by Shannon. Exhibition files regard exhibitions curated by Shannon including "Edwin Dickinson: Selected Landscapes," "R. B. Kitaj," and "Representation Abroad." Also included is a file concerning the symposium "Aspects of Realism," sponored by La Napoule Art Foundation.