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Speaking out in defense of the truth


Moving from the art market to art criticism
Brian Sewell Writer
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I was very angry. I was wounded. There was… and I’ve never… When I was buying and selling things to pay my bills, I never deserted Christie’s. Christie’s was where I sold things, I didn’t go to Sotheby’s, but I could so easily have done. But my loyalty to the firm as a whole did not die. But I… you know, I did feel wounded. However, my leaving was the making of the career of Noël Annesley, so at least somebody came out of the situation with some benefit.

[Q] But it was also making of the career for which we all know and love you, isn’t it?

That may be, that moving from the backwaters of the art market into very public criticism in a newspaper may have turned me into a public figure, but it’s not… being a public figure is something that in no way attracts me. I don’t see myself as a public figure or any… or one with influence. Well, I know perfectly well I have no influence, because I… but there we are, that’s another problem.

As a critic, you can’t be as outspoken as I am and expect to be part of the establishment.

Born in England, Brian Sewell (1931-2015) was considered to be one of Britain’s most prominent and outspoken art critics. He was educated at the Courtauld Institute of Art and subsequently became an art critic for the London Evening Standard; he received numerous awards for his work in journalism. Sewell also presented several television documentaries, including an arts travelogue called The Naked Pilgrim in 2003. He talked candidly about the prejudice he endured because of his sexuality.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Christie's, Sotheby's, Arthur Noël Grove Annesley

Duration: 2 minutes, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2013

Date story went live: 04 July 2013