Farr, Dennis 1929-2006

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Farr, Dennis 1929-2006

(Dennis Larry Ashwell Farr)

OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born April 3, 1929, in Luton, Bedfordshire, England; died of a cerebral hemorrhage, December 6, 2006. Curator and author. A former director of the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and the Courtauld Institute Galleries, Farr was a notable proponent of modern British art. Himself a graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London, he earned a B.A. there in 1950 and an M.A. in 1956. His early career, too, began at the Courtauld, where he was an assistant Witt librarian in the early 1950s. He joined the Tate Gallery in London in 1954 as an assistant keeper. Here he became a specialist in modern British artworks, culminating in the publication of two important catalogs: the coauthored Catalogue of the Modern British School Collection (1964) and the solo work British Sculpture since 1945 (1965). Leaving his homeland in 1964, Farr served as curator at the Paul Mellon Collection in Washington, DC, but returned to Great Britain in 1967 to be a senior lecturer and deputy keeper at the University of Glasgow. Next, Farr was art advisor to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. More significantly, however, he became director of the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Farr was the director at Birmingham from 1969 to 1980, and his work in improving the collection led to his receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham in 1981. The Courtauld Institute Galleries hired Farr as its director next, and he remained there until his 1993 retirement. As he had done in his previous position, Farr strove to improve the Courtauld’s holdings; he also was instrumental in moving the collection to more spacious and well-lit accommodations at Somerset House. Such contributions led to Farr being named a Commander of the British Empire in 1991. Also the general editor of the “Clarendon Studies in the History of Art” series from 1985 to 2001, Farr continued to publish other catalogs and art books over the years. Among these are the cowritten The Northern Landscape: Flemish, Dutch, and British Drawings from the Courtauld Collections (1986), The Courtauld Institute Galleries, University of London (1990), and Lynn Chadwick: Tate Britain Exhibition (2003).



Times (London, England), December 21, 2006, p. 60.