Frank R. Getlein was a noted art critic with the old Washington Evening Star newspaper and the author of more than 30 books on topics ranging from contemporary culture to the painter Mary Cassatt.
Mr. Getlein worked at the Star from 1961 to 1976. Although he was primarily an art critic, he also wrote about film, the theater, books, politics and life in America in general. From 1959 to 1968, he was the art critic for The New Republic magazine, and over the years he wrote for numerous other magazines.
He had a reputation for commentary that was both caustic and good-humored. A case in point was his 1971 book "Playing Soldier," an unsparing look at what he regarded as the foibles of the military. A reviewer described it as "a funny and fascinating and wise book."
In 1976 and 1977, Mr. Getlein co-hosted a cultural affairs program called "7:30 Live" on what is now WJLA-TV (Channel 7). For several years he did art and theater reviews on National Public Radio.
In the 1970s and 1980s, he traveled to Europe, Latin America, Africa and India to discuss American culture under the auspices of the old U.S. Information Agency.
Mr. Getlein also helped arrange art shows for the Pan American Union and acted as a judge at regional art shows.
In addition to "Playing Soldier," his books included "The Bite of the Print," about the way prints are made; "Mary Cassatt," a biography of the artist; "Modern Demonology," a look at the American scene, and "The Trouble With Catholics," about the Catholic Church in the United States. He also did a number of coffee table art books.