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[[preprinted]] ELLIS AMES BALLARD 1883 – 1938 FREDERIC L. BALLARD 1918 – 1952 LAW OFFICES BALLARD, SPAHR,ANDREWS & INGERSOLL 1035 LAND TITLE BUILDING PHILADELPHIA 10 LOcust 7-5615 BOYD LEE SPAHR SCHOFIELD ANDREWS R.STURGIS INGERSOLL CHARLES I. THOMPSON WILLIAM R. SPOFFORD ALLEN HUNTER WHITE MORRIS CHESTON KNOX HENDERSON DANIEL MILLER RICHARDSON BLAIR E. CALVERT CHESTON BOYD L. SPAHR,JR. HAMILTON C. CONNOR,JR. CHARLES S. JACOBS H. OBER HESS M. CARTON DITTMANN,JR. SHERWIN T. MCDOWELL WILLIAM S. RAWLS FREDERIC L. BALLARD,JR. LEDYARD H. HECKSCHER PHILIP C. PATTERSON THOMAS G. B. EBERT ROBERT R. BATT FRANCIS BALLARD HENRY N. PLATT,JR. NORMAN H. BROWN ROBERT L. BAST JOSEPH K. GORDON PETER PLATTEN JOHN F. KENNEDY [[/preprinted]] June 1, 1954 Mr. Germain Seligman, 5 East 57th Street, New York City. Dear Mr. Seligman: Over the week-end I read with unadulterated pleasure your "Oh! Fickle Taste". Certainly the psychology of shifting taste is one of immense interest. I inclined to the thought that the shifts are responsive to deeper psychological needs than is often admitted. The psychological need is, I dare say, the need of but a very small proportion of the educated – or more or less educated – public, and the rest are followers. The cult of Van Gogh is certainly the most extreme example we have before us today. I feel sure that the selective connoisseurs of the early 1890's were just as sensitive individuals as the individuals of our day. When, however, one looks back to the 1890's one is impressed that the connoisseurs of those days did not feel either the need of Van Gogh nor did they find in themselves accord responsive to Van Gogh. Life was less tumultuous! Though human ^[[nature]] [[strikethrough]] need [[/strikethrough]] does not change much in its essence, the impacts striking upon the minds and nervous systems of different generations do change and those impacts create new needs and eliminate old needs. I do not think that the present cult of Van Gogh is merely a fashion. The neurotic world finds a sympathetic response in his canvases. It so happens that Van Gogh is not one of my heroes and I think it is perhaps because I am too well adjusted to our confused life. I remember a number of years ago here in Philadelphia asking Sir Kenneth Clark why the millionaire collectors of America – Huntington, Morgan, Widener, Frick, et al. – had not purchased 19th century paintings. His answer was, "They do not appeal to luxury taste." This, doubtless, was and is true. The individual collector today is not interested in luxury. Parade, steam yachts, etc., are in the discard. My children would [[underlined]]almost [[/underlined]] prefer to do their own cooking than have someone else do it for them.
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