Author(s): Chris Stephens
Art historian, collector, museum director and broadcaster, Kenneth Clark was one of the leading cultural figures in Britain in the midtwentieth century. Accompanying a major exhibition, this book considers all aspects of his life and work, including his television career that climaxed in the landmark series 'Civilisation'. Particular emphasis is placed on Clark's support of, and influence upon, the art of his time. As director of the National Gallery he oversaw the relocation of the collection during the Second World War. He chaired the pioneering War Artists Advisory Committee, and persauded the government not to conscript artists - Henry Moore was one such artist who greatly benefited from Clark's support. After the war he resigned his directorship to concentrate on writing, in 1954 was co-founder of the broadcasting company that was to become ITV, and chaired the Arts Council from 1955 to 1960. A passionate advocate of art being made accessible to all, in 1969 Clark wrote and presented 'Civilisation' for the BBC, distilling the history of Western philosophy, culture and art into thirteen groundbreaking episodes.
After a period of neglect, there is now considerable interest in Clark among academics, publishers and broadcasters. As well as providing new research and information on Clark, the book is a significant intervention into histories of modern British art.
Dr Chris Stephens is a senior curator of Modern British Art and Head of Displays at Tate Britain. Dr John-Paul Stonard is an independent scholar and a regular contributor to Burlington Magazine, Artforum and Times Literary Supplement.