(b Highgate, Middlesex [now in London], 14 Dec. 1866; d London, 9 Sept. 1934). English critic, painter, and designer. He took a first-class degree in natural sciences at Cambridge in 1888, but was already more interested in art, and in the 1890s he built up a reputation as a writer and lecturer (and a much more modest one as a painter). His success as a public speaker depended partly on his mellifluous voice: George Bernard Shaw said it was one of only two he knew that were worth listening to for their own sake—the other was that of the actor Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson. Fry was curator of paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1906–10, but in the year he took up this appointment he ‘discovered’ Cézanne and turned his attention away from the Italian Old Masters, with whom he had established his scholarly reputation, to become his period's most eloquent champion of modern French painting.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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