Obituary: Luke Hermann17/11/2016
born 9 March 1932 died 9 September 2016
Luke Hermann, Professor Emeritus, University of Leicester, was quite possibly AICAUK’s longest serving member. A distinguished art historian, critic and curator, he was a specialist in British landscape painting, particularly the work of JMWTurner. Luke Hermann’s Ruskin and Turner 1968, Eighteeenth Century British Landscape Painting 1973, Turner 1975 and Paul and Thomas Sandby 1986 were followed by Turner’s Prints: The Engraved Work of JMWTurner 1991, a groundbreaking study of this significant part of the artist’s oeuvre.
Luke Hermann was the son of German Jewish émigrés who came to England in 1937. He read history at Oxford and worked from 1956-67as arts and film editor at the Illustrated London News under the collector and philanthropist, Sir Bruce Ingram, who became a mentor and friend. Art was not the young Hermann’s only enthusiasm, he recalls that it was he who coined the soubriquet ‘sex kitten’ for Bridget Bardot. He also became early acquainted with leading art critics: Stephen Bone, Eric Newton, Terence Mullaly, Pierre Jeanerat and, notably, Sir Herbert Read one of the founders of AICA International and who in 1958 proposed Luke Hermann for membership. Hermann notes that he was in Brussels that year, concurrent with the AICA Annual Congress which he attended ‘as probably the youngest member present’. He joined the Ashmolean, where he became a senior curator and later moved with his wife, the distinguished archaeologist Dr Georgina Hermann FBA, to Leicester where he had a long and fulfilling academic career, also enjoying the role of Public Orator, his honorands including Stephen Hawking and Iris Murdoch. His many reviews were published in the Apollo, Connoisseur and The Burlington Magazine. It was a mark of his generosity that in 2002 he donated his collection of fine English drawings and watercolours, which he had inherited from Sir Bruce Ingram, to the Tate and major regional public museums.