The critics’ critic

FREMANTLE has farewelled three of its finest with the recent deaths of Ted Snell, Henty Farrar and Paul Jacobs.

Prof Snell was a world-renowned artist, teacher and critic, Mr Farrar was the former head of the Fremantle Society and an experienced bureaucrat, while Mr Jacobs will be best remembered as being the (beaming) face of the Lilly Street Lasagne Bake-off. His untimely death due to an aggressive form of cancer has seen this year’s bake-off postponed.

BORN on February 14, 1952 Ted Snell was destined to become a prominent figure in the art world. 

From a young age, his passion for the arts was evident, as he sketched and painted with fervour, showcasing a natural talent that would later define his career.

Ted earned his bachelor of arts degree from the University of WA in 1972, followed by a graduate diploma in Education. 

His thirst for knowledge led him to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he obtained a master of fine arts degree, further honing his artistic skills and knowledge.

Returning to his homeland, Ted began his career as an art educator. He joined Curtin University in 1980 and dedicated decades of his life to nurturing and inspiring young artists.

• Prof Ted Snell. Photo courtesy Fremantle Press

His influence extended far beyond the classroom, as he was a prolific art critic, and his insightful reviews graced the pages of a number of domestic and international publications, offering readers a window into the world of art. His writing was marked by its eloquence and deep understanding of the artistic process, making him a trusted voice in the industry.

In 1986, Ted was appointed director of UWA’s Cultural Precinct, a role that allowed him to shape the arts scene in Perth. He was instrumental in the development of cultural institutions and the promotion of local artists. 

Throughout his illustrious career, Ted’s impact on the Perth art scene was immeasurable. He curated numerous exhibitions, authored books, and served on various arts-related committees. His unwavering dedication to the arts earned him recognition and accolades, solidifying his status as a cultural icon in Western Australia.

Prominent WA artist Mark Grey-Smith paid tribute to Ted’s contribution.

“Ted’s contribution to the education, curation and presentation of visual arts in WA and beyond was profound,” Grey-Smith said.

“He was also a wonderful, supportive person, not common in the art world.

“I first met Ted in 1974/75 when he, I, Theo Koning, Geoff Buchan, Kim Humphries and Jeff Jones formed Praxis Inc Gallery at Murray Mews in Perth. 

“Praxis Inc led to many things, including a contribution to Ted’s career. Thank you Ted.“

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