In Memoriam: Ted Snell

| Su Baker

In Memoriam: Ted Snell

In Memoriam: Ted Snell | Su Baker

Illustrator, Lani Payes Greener wrote:

Vale honorary professor Ted Snell AM CitWA

You will be deeply missed by all who were lucky enough to have known your poetic generous soul a great loss to the arts and humanity, sending our deepest love to dear Mary and your adored children and grandchildren.

Sonia Payes provides us with some beautiful photographic memories of Ted which pays tribute to his passions and relationships.

Emeritis Professor Ted Snell AM CitWA was an artist, a teacher, an advocate and a leader in his field. He was a generous supporter of young professionals and a keen student and chronicler of history, with a particular focus on the history of the arts in Western Australia. Almost no part of Australia’s arts industry was untouched by Ted’s work over 40 years. His contribution will have been felt both in Western Australia and across national arts organisation such as the Australia Council for the Arts and the Australian Council of University of Art and Design Schools (ACUADS), Artbank, amongst many others. 

Since his untimely passing there has been an outpouring of remembrances for the contribution he made to the people and organisations of which he was a part and to which he contributed over many years.

There have been some beautiful eulogies over the past few weeks marking the passing of Ted Snell and I add to them here as the Editor in Chief of Art + Australia.

We can in fact tell part of the Ted Snell story from Art + Australia's online archive, where, from 1982 he was a member of the advisory panel based in Perth and contributed to the pages of the magazine ever since. If you put 'Ted Snell' in the search function of the archive from 1963 you’ll find 194 entries. These are mostly Ted’s writing, including reviews, critical discussions, with his particular emphasis on promoting the work of artists from Western Australia.

However one of the earliest mentions is, in fact, a Galerie Düsseldorf advertisement for an exhibition of paintings by Ted in 1982. He maintained an active painting practice in his studio alongside his prolific, writing, teaching and advocacy work. There is a review of an exhibition of his work in Spring 1991 by Margaret Moore and many extensive reviews and historical studies that complemented his prolific writing of books and exhibition catalogues.

Many, many artists in Western Australia have benefited from the support given by Ted over their careers, and I am one in particular who has a great debt of gratitude to his support both in my career and support for the work of my father Allan Baker. If I add up the support through teaching, employment, professional support, collegial support, I can see that almost no part of my 40 years working in art schools and universities, and in the various professional bodies have been without support from Ted Snell. Whether as my teacher in the late 70s, a boss and colleague when he gave me my first job, a referee for the many jobs that followed and as my supervisor for my Doctorate, and much more. He was also a friend of long-standing and I experienced the wonderfully generous hospitality of Ted and Mary in their beautiful home over the many years I have known them. 

Ted Snell was a huge presence in Perth and Australia more broadly, he will be greatly missed by his many friends, colleagues and the people whom he supported over many years. 

Our deepest sympathies to Mary and his family.


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Art + Australia
Publisher: Victorian College of the Arts
University of Melbourne

Editor-in-Chief: Su Baker
Editor at Large: Edward Colless
Managing Editor: Jeremy Eaton
Art + Australia Study Centre Editor: Suzie Fraser
Digital Archive Researcher: Chloe Ho
Business adviser: Debra Allanson
Design Editors: Karen Ann Donnachie and Andy Simionato (Design adviser. John Warwicker) 


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Art + Australia was established in 1963 by Sam Ure-Smith and in 2015 was donated to the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne by then publisher and editor Eleonora Triguboff as a gift of the ARTAND Foundation.

Art + Australia acknowledges the generous support of the Dr Harold Schenberg Bequest and the Centre of Visual Art, University of Melbourne. 

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Art + Australia ISSN 1837-2422