The Go Between

The Go-Between is one of William's most intriguing works in the West to East collection, full of metaphor and symbolism.

In the painting, we see two western looking chefs clearly having a heated argument, almost coming to blows with their rolling pins.

Stood between them is the 'go-between', trying to break up the fight.

To the left of the painting is an eastern looking man (wearing an eastern straw hat), looking on at the fight.

Viewed through the theme of West to East, we can interpret the painting as a take on US vs China trade.

If we replace the two fighting western chefs with two large US companies, competing for market share, the picture becomes into focus.

For example, the two chefs could represent Apple and Google or Disney and Netflix.

Two leading companies fighting for customers, for market share.

The go-between sits in the middle trying to calm the waters.

Perhaps the go-between is the consumer, undecided how to spend their hard-earned money. Perhaps the go-between is the regulator trying to regulate monopolistic markets.

All the time, the eastern man waits patiently in the wings, watching as the western chefs (or western companies) fight between themselves.

The eastern man (or companies) bide their time, looking for the right opportunity to enter the US/western markets.