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Photo: Eleanore Lazare

"... [a] friend introduced the then comparatively young art critic Clement Greenberg... Marianne seemed to be familiar with his writing and said, on shaking hands, "Oh, the fearless Mr. Greenberg." -- Elizabeth Bishop in Efforts of Affection: A Memoir of Marianne Moore

Clement Greenberg was the greatest art critic of the second half of the 20th century--possibly the greatest art critic of all time. This, of course, is arguable and will remain so, as some of the comments which follow suggest..

This site may not convert Greenberg's detractors, though it may controvert their claims; it presents the opinions of friends, admirers, and sometime critics as well as selections from Greenberg's own writing. Material will be added as it becomes available.

My thanks for support from Greenberg's many friends and especially from his widow, the late Janice Van Horne.

Thanks, in advance, to readers, students, and art lovers. ,Äî Terry Fenton

(c) Copyright of Clement Greenberg's writing is property of the Clement Greenberg estate and may not be reproduced without permission.



Greenberg on Greenberg a brief autobiography from 1955

On Modernism and the Avant Garde

Avant Garde and Kitsch (1939)

Modernist Painting (1960)

Avant Garde Attitudes (1968)

Modern and Postmodern (1979)

Cross-Breeding of Sculpture 1952. A masterly historical overview

Collage, (1959) the pre-eminent essay on Cubism, the seeds of abstraction, and assemblage. Required reading.

Hofmann (1961) a seminal essay on Hans Hofmann, the great and still underappreciated master

Influences of Matisse (1973) Catalogue text from an exhibition at Acquavella Galleries, New York

Detached Observations (1972) on the history of art

Interview (1978) Robert McLaughlin Gallery, re: 1957 Toronto visit and studio practice.

Autonomies of Art (1980) Life and art, morality and art, the place of art -- includes link to RealAudio

Art Criticism (1981) On the State of Criticism, from Partisan Review

Taste (1983) Text (plus Real Audio) of a talk at Western Michigan University

Interview (1991) From The Edmonton Review, 1996

by Clement Greenberg. the book -- out of print for 50 years!



The Man Who Loved Pictures, 1994 a memorial tribute by Terry Fenton

Greenberg the Critic, 2001. An overview by Terry Fenton

The Unconditional Aesthete, by Darby Bannard,1987, a discussion of Greenberg's contribution

In The Studio by Sir Anthony Caro, Nov. 2000. Includes link to new Caro web site.

Soulmates in Art by Peter Harris, Oct 2001. Greenberg and an Australian painter.

The Veteran Critic by Neil Marshall, Nov. 2000. Judgment; manners, good & ill.

Clement Greenberg by Kenworth Moffett, 2014. Critical assessment by former friend and colleague.

Clement Greenberg, a Memoir by Tim Hilton, from the New Criterion archive, Sept. 2000

by John Link. Is decadence upon us?

The Slippery Slope of Hope -- please send us yours...



A seminar held June 1-3 2007 at Emma Lake, Saskatchewan, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Saskatchewan. The papers by teachers and students of aesthetics from Canada and the United States proved to be serious and sympathetic, a far cry from Greenberg's treatment by the art world during his lifetime. Selected papers from the workshop have been published in a special issue of AE: The Canadian Aesthetics Journal devoted to the workshop proceedings.

The Greenberg I Knew, 2007. Keynote address to the Kant/Greenberg seminar by Terry Fenton

Books by and about Greenberg

Review by Helen Frankenthaler of The Harold Letters from Partisan Review



... a tone of flattery incurs the stigma of servility and earns the contempt of readers, but they open their ears to malicious criticism, since malice makes a show of independence. -- Tacitus

Journalism 101... 1998 a review by Piri Halasz of Florence Rubenfeld's Clement Greenberg Greenberg, A Life

Greenberg in the 40s; his Critics in the 80s by Piri Halasz. A detailed examinati

A Critic and His Critics: the Reception of Clement Greenberg: A Life by Karen Wilkin

Rubenfeld Aftermath by Terry Fenton 

Against Clembashing by Peter Harris -- the phenomenon isn't confined to North America.

Beyond Revisionism: Reconsidering Clement Greenberg's Cold War Politics by Sheila Christophedes



The Portland Art Museum acquired Greenberg's art collection, which consists primarily of gifts from artists, and organized a traveling exhibition drawn from it. The museum's "past exhibition" site contains a provocative selection of works from the collection. It's well done although incomplete and not always well selected. A must see.

Catalogue available in book format, text by Karen Wilkin.

Please feel free to contact us. Comments, anecdotes, articles, and queries are welcome.




webmaster: Terry Fenton