Letter : Orthodox view of an art `priest'

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From Mr David Sylvester

Sir: In his review of the De Kooning show at the Tate Gallery, Andrew Graham-Dixon casts me in the role of "Pope" in a "canonisation" of that artist ("In search of the edible woman", 21 February). But De Kooning was canonised before Mr Graham-Dixon was born and the officiating clergy were men of the calibre of Meyer Schapiro and Harold Rosenberg, by comparison with whom I am a parish priest in a remote village.

It is ludicrous that Mr Graham-Dixon should bother to take issue with my view of De Kooning's worth as if it were a highly personal view rather than one that is perfectly orthodox and commonplace among those, especially painters, who know about modern art. As a critic, Mr Graham-Dixon copes well enough with the work of his countrymen but at the sight of anything American seems increasingly prone to panic.

Yours etc,

DAVID SYLVESTER

London, W11

22 February

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