Hugh Blaker: Doing his Bit for the Moderns

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-189
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the History of Collections
Volume16
Issue number2
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 2004
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Abstract

Nowadays Hugh Blaker is remembered only as adviser to Gwendoline and Margaret Davies of Gregynog; it was his taste that influenced the sisters in the formation of their renowned collections of nineteenth-century French art, which they bequeathed to the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, Cardiff. The role of consultant has, however, overshadowed his many other activities; he was also a painter, writer, art critic, museum curator, collector, dealer in Old Masters and, against overwhelming public opinion, an indefatigable advocate of avant-garde tendencies in art. Blaker, passionate and opinionated, ridiculed official conservatism and was an ardent supporter and promoter of young artists: ‘I am trying to do something for the moderns’, he protested, ‘but they won't let me!’ This article examines his significant, and as yet largely unrecognized, contribution to the course of art history in Britain during the first half of the twentieth century.