The Art Newspaper reports that James Stourton, the chairman of Sotheby’s U.K., will depart the company later this year to write an authorized biography of Kenneth Clark, a former director of the National Gallery in London who died in 1983 and remains a major figure in contemporary art history.
More details from The Art Newspaper:
Clark was, as Stourton says, the “grandest of grandees in the art world”. After serving as the keeper of fine art at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum (1931-34), Clark was appointed the youngest director of the National Gallery in 1934 at the age of 31. At the heart of London’s intelligentsia, he presided over a circle of royals, artists and academics.
Which isn’t to say that Clark isn’t without his detractors. The piece also quotes art critic Brian Sewell on Clark, “He was possibly the worst director the National Gallery ever had. There is also a question mark over how he dispensed patronage to artists during the war.” Mr. Stourton has written for numerous publications, according to his Sotheby’s bio, and once owned an imprint of his own, publishing “more than 30 books of poetry, essays and philosophy.” His Clark biography is due out in 2016 on Harper Collins.