John Berger, the Booker prize-winning novelist and pioneering art critic, has passed away at the age of 90.
The Marxist intellectual, whose BBC series, Ways of Seeing, brought a political view to art criticism, died at his home in the Paris suburb of Antony on Monday. He had been ill for about a year, reported Telegraph.
Berger won the Booker Prize in 1972 for his novel G, and pledged to give half the prize money to the radical African-American movement, the Black Panthers.
Born in Hackney, North London, Berger began his career as a painter. Soon after his work was exhibited in the 1940s, he tried his hand at writing. His works ranged from poetry to screenplays, writings on photography, the exploitation of migrant workers and the Palestinian struggle for statehood.
The famed Scottish author Ali Smith described Berger as “one of the world’s most vital corresponders”. “In John Berger’s work love and art and political and historical understanding are always in layered combination. There are many other writers and artists who work with this relation, but none with quite the transformatory fusion of his combining, which is a bit like encountering what clarity really is, what the word means, like looking through pure water and seeing things naturally magnified,” she said.
In reaction to the news of his death, artist David Shrigley called Berger “the best ever writer on art”, and author Jeanette Winterson praised him as “an energy source in a depleted world.”
Goodbye John Berger. You will be greatly missed. The ever best writer on art.
— David Shrigley (@davidshrigley) January 2, 2017
John Berger gone. That is hard. He was an energy source in a depleted world.
— JEANETTE WINTERSON (@Wintersonworld) January 2, 2017