The great artists who hate each other’s work

The Guardian - G2 - - Shortcuts - Digby Warde-Aldam

News that Lu­cian Freud was pri­vately dis­mis­sive of some of David Hock­ney’s paint­ings shouldn’t come as a sur­prise. Freud, the em­i­nence grise of Bri­tish por­trai­ture, was not one to lav­ish praise on any con­tem­po­rary; in­deed, he would of­ten re­fer to his friend-turned-bit­ter-ri­val De­nis Wirth-miller as “Den­nis Worth-noth­ing”. That the lat­ter may have stolen one of Freud’s paint­ings prob­a­bly didn’t help, but nei­ther left any­body in any doubt as to their opin­ions of each other’s out­put.

How­ever, Freud was nei­ther the first nor the last artist to get into a slang­ing match. Hock­ney him­self has lev­elled sev­eral barbs in the di­rec­tion of Ger­hard Richter. “To be hon­est, I don’t re­ally un­der­stand Richter,” he said in 2015. “[…] I just can’t see any pro­fun­dity.” He added: “[It’s] OK, but I don’t see what’s so great about­bout it.” Just in case the mes­sage was lost,t, he clar­i­fied that he meant all this “pe­jo­ra­tively”.tively”.

While e artists are rather more cir­cum­spect about bout each other’s her’s work when­hen speak­ing ng on the recor­dord in to­day’sy’s ul­tra-pro-- ro- fes­sional mar­ket, the gloves of­ten come off as soon as the Dic­ta­phone stops record­ing. I’ve lost count of the con­fi­den­tial in­sults I’ve heard con­tem­po­rary artists sling at their peers – gen­er­ally, and per­haps de­servedly, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons.

Look­ing back into art his­tory, though, things get rather juicier. Michelan­gelo loathed Raphael and his work, while In­gres so hated Delacroix’s (he thought, im­moral) paint­ings that he said he couldn’t even look at them.

“It smells of brim­stone” was his po­lite as­sess­ment. Wil­liam Blake had a fine side­line slag­ging off Royal Academy founder and art world grandee Joshua Reynolds.

More re­cently, Pi­casso was said to de­test Modigliani, an an­i­mos­ity that ap­par­ently stretched to the for­mer paint­ing over one of the lat­ter’s can­vases. Nor was Pi­casso im­mune to crit­i­cism. Tak­ing pro­fes­sional loathing to its ul­ti­mate, re­ac­tionary ex­treme was the ul­tra-estab­lish­ment painter Al­fred Mun­nings, who hated new de­vel­op­ments in art so much that his later years were con­sumed hurl­ing in­sults at Matisse and Pi­casso. Ru­mour has it that when a pro­gres­sive art school near his Suf­folk home was burned to the ground – a stu­dent had al­legedly left a cig­a­rette smoul­der­ing on the floor – he drove to the scene an­dand cheered. And who was the stu­dent some claimed re­spon­si­ble? None other than a cer­tain Lu­cian Freud …

Gloves off … Michela ngelo loathed

Raphae l and his work

… to your hor­ri­ble paint­ing Cheers!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.