Reference Entry

Sweeney, James Johnson

Paula A. Baxter

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T082666

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(b Brooklyn, NY, May 30, 1900; d New York, April 14, 1986).

American writer and museum official. After receiving a BA from Georgetown University, Washington, DC (1922), he studied literature at Cambridge University, England (1922–4), but was increasingly drawn to modern art after meeting Roger Fry. His graduate studies at the Sorbonne, Paris (1925), and at the University of Siena (1926) transformed him into a vigorous champion of the avant-garde at a time when it was subject to considerable reactionary backlash. He wrote for and edited various European publications but founded a reputation in the USA with his spirited defence of contemporary artists in the New York Times and the Chicago Evening Post.

From 1933 to 1934, Sweeney organized a series of exhibitions at the University of Chicago Renaissance Society. He returned to New York in 1935 as a visiting lecturer at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. From 1941 to 1948...

Reference Entry.  502 words. 

Subjects: History of Art ; Art of the United States ; 20th-Century Art

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