Art: Poor Blighters

He thinks Picasso overrated, and British art underrated. Says British Painter-Critic Michael Ayrton: "If we in England have one virtue carried to excess, it is our deplorable modesty and sense of inferiority when discussing our own visual arts." As art critic for the weekly Spectator and other British publications, he has waged a hot one-man campaign to boost British art, and denounced Picasso, as "the archangel Lucifer of painting."

Ayrton also took up the brush himself to try to prove his point. At 19, he was earning good commissions in commercial art and stage design. At 21, he had his first show...

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