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Barbara Rose, Critic and Historian of Modern Art, Dies at 84

Barbara Rose, Critic and Historian of Modern Art, Dies at 84
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Barbara Rose, Critic and Historian of Modern Art, Dies at 84

Barbara Rose, Critic and Historian of Fashionable Artwork, Dies at 84

Barbara Ellen Rose was born on June 11, 1936, in Washington, the oldest baby of Lillian and Ben Rose. Her mom was a homemaker, and her father, who owned a liquor retailer, had a cut-glass bar made for the household’s recreation room. By the age of three, Barbara felt aesthetically offended by her “bland, tasteless or vulgar environment,” she wrote in a forthcoming memoir, and resolved to flee as quickly as she might.

She earned a bachelor’s diploma from Barnard and attended graduate faculty at Columbia, writing her thesis on Sixteenth-century Spanish portray and visiting Pamplona on a Fulbright fellowship. It was the start of an enduring fascination with Madrid, the place she finally acquired a house. In 2010, she was awarded the Order of Isabella by the Spanish authorities for her contributions to Spanish tradition.

Ms. Rose was nonetheless a pupil when she began relationship Mr. Stella, a precocious Princeton alumnus whose austere black-stripe work have been pushing artwork away from the expressionist previous. Within the fall of 1961 he adopted her to Pamplona, sketching of their resort room as she visited age-old church buildings to analysis Navarrese portray.

They have been married that October on the register’s workplace in London. Michael Fried, the formalist artwork historian, served as a witness and gave them a quantity of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s writings as a present.

Ms. Rose later mentioned that she began writing criticism with Mr. Fried’s encouragement. Her landmark essay “ABC Artwork,” revealed in Artwork in America in October 1965, recognized a technology of younger artists whose work, she wrote, gave off a “clean, impartial and mechanical impersonality.” They included Mr. Stella, in addition to Carl Andre, Robert Morris and Donald Judd. Linking their work to European predecessors like Kazimir Malevich and, much less predictably, Marcel Duchamp, she offered a lofty historic lineage for the vanguard artwork of the ’60s.

Her marriage to Mr. Stella resulted in 1969, and so they each divorced themselves from their early embrace of Minimalism as effectively. “The one factor anyone is aware of about me is that I wrote that article with the title I didn’t give it,” Ms. Rose lamented in Artforum journal in 2016, referring to “ABC Artwork.” She blamed her editor for the headline.

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