Booker-prize-winning author of titles including Ways of Seeing, G and A Painter of our Time had been living in Paris

John Berger, the Booker-prize-winning novelist and visionary writer who helped transform the way a generation looked at and perceived art, has died aged 90.

Berger had a profound effect on how visual art was appreciated with his book Ways of Seeing and the 1972 BBC television series based on it.

The actor and director Simon McBurney tweeted his reaction to Bergers death:

Simon McBurney (@SimonMcBurney)

Listener, grinder of lenses, poet, painter, seer. My Guide. Philosopher. Friend. John Berger left us this morning. Now you are everywhere.

January 2, 2017

Bergers publisher, Verso Books, also tweeted in reaction to his death:

Verso Books (@VersoBooks)

Rest in power John Berger (1926-2017) https://t.co/HSIVBy0D8J

January 2, 2017

Art and the wider world seemed to make more sense after watching Berger on the BBC, with his piercing blue eyes, steady delivery and groovy seventies shirt, eloquently explain perspective or the idealisation of the nude.

Susan Sontag once described Berger as peerless in his ability to make attentiveness to the sensual world meet imperatives of conscience. Jarvis Cocker, to mark a recent book of essays about Berger, said: There are a few authors that can change the way you look at the world through their writing and John Berger is one of them.

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.

David Shrigley (@davidshrigley)

Goodbye John Berger. You will be greatly missed. The ever best writer on art.

January 2, 2017

JEANETTE WINTERSON (@Wintersonworld)

John Berger gone. That is hard. He was an energy source in a depleted world.

January 2, 2017

Berger lived for many years in a remote farmhouse in the French Alps, to where the British Librarys Jamie Andrews had to travel when the institution acquired Bergers literary archive in 2009.

More recently he lived in Antony, a suburb of Paris. It was from there he gave one of his final interviews with the Observers Kate Kellaway, giving his view, among other things, on the bigger picture around the Brexit vote. It seems to me that we have to return, to recapitulate what globalisation meant, because it meant that capitalism, the world financial organisations, became speculative and ceased to be first and foremost productive, and politicians lost nearly all their power to take political decisions I mean politicians in the traditional sense. Nations ceased to be what they were before.

Berger was a lifelong Marxist, a vehement critic of capitalism. He began his career as a painter before turning to writing, becoming an art critic for the New Statesman. He published his first novel, A Painter of our Time, in 1958.

His picaresque novel G won the Booker prize in 1972. Subsequent winners of the prize are routinely asked what they are going to do with the generous prize money and no-one has been able to better what Berger did. Disdainful of Booker McConnells historical association with indentured labour in the Caribbean, he said he would donate half the cash to the British Black Panthers, who were the black movement with the socialist and revolutionary perspective that I find myself most in agreement with in this country.

He kept the other half to support his work on a study of migrant workers which became the book with photographer Jean Mohr, A Seventh Man.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jan/02/john-berger-art-critic-and-author-dies-aged-90

John Berger, art critic and author, dies aged 90
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