Cary, Elisabeth Luther (1867–1936)

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Cary, Elisabeth Luther (1867–1936)

American art critic. Born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 18, 1867; died in Brooklyn on July 13, 1936; educated at home by her father, a newspaper editor; studied painting with local teachers.

Selected works:

Tennyson: His Homes, His Friends, and His Work (1898); Browning, Poet and Man (1899); The Rossettis: Dante Gabriel and Christina (1900); William Morris, Poet, Craftsman, Socialist (1902); Emerson, Poet and Thinker (1904); The Novels of Henry James (1905); The Art of William Blake (1907); Honoré Daumier (1907); The Works of James McNeill Whistler (1907); Artists Past and Present: Random Studies (1909).

Elizabeth Cary, art critic for The New York Times for 28 years, began with an early interest in literature. Her career got under way with the publication of three translations from the French: Recollections of Middle Life by Francisque Sarcey (1893), Russian Portraits by E. Melchior de Vogüé (1895), and The Land of Tawny Beasts by "Pierre Maël" (Charles Causse and Charles Vincent). Cary's original writings focused on literary figures until 1907, when she published the first of several books dealing with art and artists. In 1905, she started writing and publishing a monthly art periodical called the Script, which eventually came to the attention of Adolph S. Ochs, publisher of The New York Times. Ochs was so impressed with Cary's work that he invited her to become the art critic for his newspaper, the first position of its kind. Through the turbulent period of early 20th-century art, she melded traditional art standards with an open-minded interest in new modes of expression, and her reviews were popular with both the paper's readership and the art world. After 1927, Cary concentrated more on feature articles, often writing on her particular interest, printmaking.