“not enough Jim.”

Doris Lockhart Saatchi has written about the artist Ben Johnson and his encounter with James Stirling.

Johnson became attracted to the artistic issues raised by architecture in 1973, when he first saw James Stirling’s Leicester University Department of Engineering building. He contacted the architect and said he would like to make a painting based on the building, and Stirling expressed interest in commissioning it. Johnson declined the commission but offered the architect first viewing and option to buy. Some time later, he duly presented the finished painting. After a few moments of silence, Stirling walked up to the canvas, tapped it with his fingers, turned to Johnson and said, ‘Too much Ben, not enough Jim.’

Perhaps Johnson’s 1986 painting of the galleries of the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart rebalanced the equation?


James Stirling 22 April 1926 – 25 June 1992

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