Frank Jewett Mather, Jr.


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Art critic, historian, and museum director. Conservative by temperament, he saw little merit in modern art, judging it to reflect excessive individualism. However, his critical writing usually maintained a scholarly and judicious tone, a byproduct of his academic training. Born in Deep River, Connecticut, he earned a BA degree in 1889 at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and a PhD in English at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University three years later. After teaching languages at Williams from 1893 until 1900, he spent the following decade as a journalist, in New York until 1906 and subsequently in Italy. He then returned to teaching but in addition wrote art criticism, especially for The Nation, where he served as a regular contributor from 1907 until 1917. From 1910 until 1933, he taught at Princeton University, where he also directed the school's art museum from 1922 to 1946. Besides several books on Italian art, his numerous publications include an examination of modern painting, a monograph on Homer Martin, a study of aesthetics, and collected essays, which included clear-eyed estimates of recent American artists such as Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer. In his final years, he resided on a farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He died in Princeton.

Subjects: Art.

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