Yesterday during his Reddit AMA, New York‘s art critic Jerry Saltz was asked whether he would pay the $140 million for Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969), the way some person or group of people did at Christie’s Tuesday night. Mr. Saltz balked. “The Francis Bacon is completely predictable,” he, or some group of people transcribing his answers, wrote. “A middle-brow painting by a middle-brow painter painting another middle-brow painter.”
Today his wife Roberta Smith has an on-point Critic’s Notebook about the auctions in The New York Times that uses nearly the same line: “It seems obvious that the Bacon… is a special case and a guaranteed money magnet. It is a portrait of one of Britain’s two most famous modern artists painted by the other one… More skeptically, the triptych… might also be termed a portrait of a middlebrow artist by another middlebrow artist.”
Who had it first? Not that it matters! It’s a good line. And you do this with your significant other’s opinions all the time, don’t lie.