26 MARCH 1954, Page 16

SIR,—Your comments on March 12th may have been justifiably provoked

by the Myn- chester City Council. In the larger view, however, arc you not perhaps begging the question ?

It is far from being only the philistines to whom the vogue in modern art is suspect. The philistines only "know what they like "—and dislike: is there articulate evidence that the cognoscenti do more than just that 7 The current jargon is vague and unenlighten- ing. It may be true that a rarer taste can discern added beauty and significance in the human trunk without its natural appendages, or with them misplaced or distorted—in a flower with its petals torn off, so to say. But who is to be the arbiter, and what the criterion, of these new-found masterpieces?

Of course the artist must experiment. But in these exploratory excursions he is neces- sarily in an intensely personal mood, unortho- dox and eccentric. Is it likely that even the most skilled psychiatrist, in a full " state of grace" to art, could follow or interpret the antics of exploring genius ?

Perhaps, Sir, time will once more be the most penetrating art critic. In the meantime, the Manchester City Council were at any rate wise not to buy with public money a work that the public has no taste to appreciate.— Yours faithfully,