Letter: Portrait of the art critic

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TIM HILTON replaces solid critical argument with nastiness in his piece 'Draw draw is better than jaw jaw' (Review, 19 June). Hilton is correct when he implies that a pictorially poor painting cannot be made into a successful one simply by talking or writing about it. Regrettably, he fails to tell us what he thinks a pictorially successful late 20th-century painting should look like. He goes on to say that Kitaj's pastels, prints and charcoal drawings are 'emotionally false'. How does he know? Has he lived Kitaj's life?

Hilton finds some of Kitaj's work pornographic, tasteless and sinister. This speaks volumes about the critic, but does not get us very far in thinking about such an interesting and complex artist as Kitaj.

Casper Johnson

Hawkhurst, Kent