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Franz West loved, above all else, art and its creation

Although renowned for his kindness, humour and generosity, Franz West didn't care a hoot about what anyone thought of him.

He loved, above all else, art and its creation. His studio, in Vienna's third district, was to me one of the most wonderful places on Earth. There he surrounded himself with a team of extremely able assistants. Something of a dandy, and in spirit an aristocrat, he was a throwback to fin de siècle Vienna. His favourite philosopher was Wittgenstein, and his knowledge about philosophy, art, dance and music was enormous.

His life was dedicated to art. He was told by his doctor last year to take a two-month break but smiled at the thought of retirement and said: "I'm not going to stop," returning to his studio within days of leaving hospital. He was unhappy if he had failed to produce anything good in a day. He was alternately inspired, with an iron will and a fierce determination, and at other times at an utter loss, and horribly miserable as a result. He was happiest when working.


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