"Scarcely a scholar": William Rothenstein and the Artist as Art-writer in English Periodicals, ca.1890–1910

Shaw, Samuel (2015). "Scarcely a scholar": William Rothenstein and the Artist as Art-writer in English Periodicals, ca.1890–1910. Visual Resources, 31(1-2) pp. 45–60.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01973762.2015.1004779

Abstract

Using William Rothenstein (1872–1945) as a case study, this essay explores the opportunities available for young art writers who were also practicing artists at the turn of the previous century—and the various anxieties that ensued over this dual role. Rothenstein's early contributions to the London periodicals The Studio and The Saturday Review are examined in relation to his one major publication: a 1900 study of Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828), the first English monograph on the artist. This was published as part of “The Artist's Library,” a popularizing venture overseen by the writer Laurence Binyon (1869–1943) and incorporating fellow artist-critics such as Roger Fry (1866–1934) and Charles John Holmes (1868–1936). Rothenstein's subsequent retreat from art criticism coincides, it is argued, with the growing professionalism of the practice, led by such scholars as Bernard Berenson (1865–1959), who originally questioned Rothenstein's involvement in “The Artist's Library.” An appendix provides the most comprehensive list to date of Rothenstein's art historical writings.

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