You have the power to grant fifty more productive years to an artist of any discipline (writer, musician, painter, etc.) who died too young. Who do you pick?
My answer was Schubert, and here is why:
1. Schubert was just starting to peak, but we already have a significant amount of top-tier Mozart. And I take Mozart to be the number one contender for the designation. Schubert composed nine symphonies, and number seven still wasn’t that great. Some people think number eight was unfinished. Number nine is incredible. Furthermore, I believe the nature of his genius would have aged well with the man.
2. John Keats is a reasonable contender, but perhaps his extant peak output is sufficient to capture the nature of his genius?
3. After the 1982-1984 period, there was decline in the quality of Basquiat’s output. His was the genius of a young man, and drugs would have interfered with his further achievement in any case.
4. Buddy Holly had already peaked, and he didn’t quite have the skills or ambition to have morphed into something significantly more. No one from popular music in that time period did.
5. Frank Ramsey is a reasonable choice, but I am more excited about Schubert. We still would have ended up with the same neoclassical economics.
6. Perhaps Kurt Cobain’s genius was that of a young man as well? Nonetheless he is in my top ten, if only for curiosity reasons. Hank Williams and Hendrix are competitors too.
7. Carel Fabritius anyone?
Who else? Caravaggio? Egon Schiele? Eva Hesse? I feel they all have styles that would have aged well, unlike say with Jim Morrison. Seurat? Thomas Chatterton I can pass on, maybe Stephen Crane or Sylvia Plath from the side of the writers?