John Berger, art critic and Booker Prize victor, dies at 90
- Tamara Craig
The Booker Prize-winning author died on Monday at his home in the Paris suburb of Antony.
For the generations of art history students too young to have seen Ways of Seeing on TV, the book accompanying the series became a touchstone and, surely uniquely, it is a piece of critical theory that not only feels worth referring back to regularly but makes perfectly agreeable bedtime reading. The programme aired in 1972 and has since been shown on BBC Four.
He also won the 1972 Booker Prize for Fiction for his experimental novel "G.", set in pre-World War I Europe.
A Marxist humanist who called himself a revolutionary, he donated half of his £5,000 prize money to the United Kingdom branch of the Black Panthers, the far-left black nationalist organisation. There are interviews with his children, visual artist John Christie, cartoonist Selçuk Demiral, photographer Jean Mohr as well as two of his children, film-critic Katya Berger and the painter Yves Berg. Now you are everywhere.
Artist David Shrigley caller Berger "the best ever writer on art". He had been ill for about a year, according to a Telegraph report.
"He loved bringing people together", said Christie.
Tributes came from the worlds of art, literature and politics.
"It changed everything", she added.
Feminist author Andi Zeisler also shared the same quote, adding: "Berger defined and condemned the male gaze with humanity and precision".
Born to a middle-class London family on November 5, 1926, Berger never attended university.
He never went to university and instead studied painting at the Chelsea School of Art after leaving the army. He began as a painter, later taught drawing and eventually began writing criticism for the New Statesman.
After his television success Berger moved to a remote village in the Haute Savoie region of France where he continued to write and paint, increasing his influence in the literary and art worlds.