The Jamaican-born art critic, photographer and poet Edward Lucie-Smith has donated sixty-one photographs to the National Gallery of Jamaica. The photographs were selected from Lucie-Smith’s wide-ranging photographic oeuvre and the prints were produced especially for the NGJ. The subject matter varies widely and includes what he calls “accidental abstractions” – photographic close-ups that look like abstract paintings; travel photographs from modern China, Jamaica and the Venice Carnival; and a provocative juxtaposition of photographs of details of nude sculptures and actual nude photographs, as he had also presented in his book Flesh & Stone (2000). A selection of forty of the donated photographs will be included in the inaugural exhibition of this new collection, which will open at the NGJ on Sunday, January 17, 2010.
Edward Lucie-Smith’s Biography
Edward Lucie-Smith belongs to a family that has lived in the West Indies since the 1620s. They were originally planters in Barbados, moved to Guiana (then called Demarara) and finally, c. 1800, to Jamaica and Trinidad. In Jamaica his forebears were all government officials – his father, Dudley Lucie-Smith, was Assistant Colonial Secretary in the pre-Independence Jamaican government. His mother was English and was the granddaughter of a member of the British parliament who was one of Wilberforce’s closest allies in the fight against the slave trade.
Edward Lucie-Smith was born in 1933 at Kingston, Jamaica. He moved to Britain in 1946, and was educated at King’s School, Canterbury and Merton College, Oxford, where he read History. Subsequently he was an Education Officer in the R.A.F., then worked in advertising for ten years before becoming a freelance author. He is now an internationally known art critic and historian, who is also a published poet (member of the Académie Européenne de Poésie, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize), an anthologist and a practicing photographer. In recent years he has made frequent return visits to Jamaica.
He has published more than a hundred books in all, including a biography of Joan of Arc (republished by Penguin in paperback as a ‘classic biography’), a historical novel, and more than a hundred books about art, chiefly but not exclusively about contemporary work. Two of his books are monographs about Jamaican artists – one on Albert Huie, the other on JudyAnn Macmillan. A new book about Angels, just published by Harper Collins, features the work of several Jamaican artists, among them Kapo and Edna Manley, mingled with the work of all-time greats such as Fra Angelico.
Lucie-Smith is generally regarded as the most prolific and the most widely published writer on art, with sales for some titles totaling over 250,000 copies. A number of his art books, among them Movements in Art since 1945, Visual Arts of the 20th Century, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Art Today are used as standard texts throughout the world. Movements in Art since 1945, first published in 1969, has been continuously in print since that date, and has appeared in a large number of languages – among them Chinese, Arabic and Persian.
He travels and lectures widely. Among the countries where he has lectured are Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Slovenia, Australia, New Zealand and Iran. He also has strong links with the contemporary Chinese art world and has written catalogue essays for solo exhibitions by leading Chinese artists at the Beijing National Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai.
His photographs have been the subject of solo exhibitions in London, Brussels, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Rome, Bologna, Istanbul, Helsinki, Stockholm, Kuala Lumpur, St Petersburg, Ljubljana, Belgrade, Rio de Janeiro , Toronto and Skopje. A book of his photographs, Flesh & Stone, was published by the French imprint Ipso Facto Publishers in October 2000. There was an American museum show at the Butler Institute of Art, Youngstown, Ohio, in February/March 2003. His work as a photographer is included in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London; the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid; the New Orleans Museum of Art; the Butler Institute of Art, Youngstown, Ohio; the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, the Frissiras Museum, Athens, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje, and the City Art Gallery, Helsinki.
More information on Edward Lucie-Smith can be found on his personal website: http://www.edwardlucie-smith.co.uk/