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Lucian Freud


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SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2019 SELECTED AS BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE TIMES, FINANCIAL TIMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH, NEW STATESMAN, SPECTATOR The story of an epic life, and the story of century told through one of its most important artists, The Life of Lucian Freud is a landmark not simply in the story of its subject but in the art of biography itself.

About the Author

William Feaver is a painter, curator and author, and was the art critic for the Observer for 23 years. He is on the Academic Board of the Royal Drawing School where he also currently tutors. As well as extensive work as a broadcaster he has produced films with Jake Auerbach including Lucian Freud Portraits and The Last Art Film. His book Pitmen Painters (about the Ashington Group in Northumberland) was adapted for the stage by Lee Hall and has been performed throughout the world since 2007. He curated Lucian Freud's 2002 retrospective at Tate Britain, the Museo Correr and in Barcelona and Los Angeles, and the 2012 exhibition of Freud's drawings in London and New York. He also curated the John Constable exhibition at the Grand Palais in 2002 with Freud. He has sat, weekly, for Frank Auerbach since 2003. He lives in London.


William Feaver has done a brilliant job -- LYNN BARBER * Daily Telegraph *
Affectionate as well as lively, also hard-edged, clear-eyed, as Freud would have relished. Much is recounted in the artist's own sardonic words, buoyed by fantastic gossip; it flows fast and long, and you close it reluctantly * Financial Times, Books of the Year *
This exceptional book is far from standard biography ... A compendium of high-grade gossip about everyone from Princess Margaret to the Krays, a tour of the immediate post-war art world, a snapshot of grimy London and a narrative of Freud's career and rackety life and loves ... Leaves the ready itchy for volume two * Sunday Times, Art Book of the Year *
Here's a story to keep you stuck in that fireside seat ... Follow the adrenaline-fuelled course of the first half of his fabulously unconventional, unscrupulously promiscuous, relentlessly ambitious and often fantastically scurrilous life as he swirls about in a milieu of grand society and riveting gossip. The second half of this biography is expected soon, so that's next Christmas sorted * The Times, Picks of the Year *
An exceptional level of fact... a robust and intricate evocation of the man at work * Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year *
The "reptile Freud" is laid bare in a biography that reads like fiction as it charts the painter's wild, dangerous youth * The Times, Books of the Year *
This is far from a standard biography. At times like a Jilly Cooper novel, at others a socio-economic spotlight on the times * Sunday Telegraph *
A superb and engrossing book -- COLM TOIBIN * New Statesman, Books of the Year *
This is a tremendous read. Anyone interested in British art needs it ... An extraordinary book -- ANDREW MARR * New Statesman *
The amoral antics of the painter, as reckless in life as he was fastidious in the studio, mesmerise in this lively account * Financial Times, Books of the Year *
Superb, sparklingly intelligent * Daily Telegraph *
As gripping as any novel, illuminating both about Freud's work and about his fairly startling personal life -- INDIA KNIGHT * Sunday Times *
The pleasure of this book is infernal -- FRANCES WILSON * Spectator, Books of the Year *
Irresistible ... Freud and Feaver seize you by the elbows, bundle you into a Bentley, haul you round the nightclubs, feed you oysters, Guinness and amphetamines and order you Russian tea and eggs the next morning. I didn't know whether I'd been roughed up or ravished * The Times, Book of the Week *
Not just a great art biography, but wonderful social commentary about London in particular and Britain in general in the postwar period -- ANDREW MARR * New Statesman Books of the Year *
A biography that is as entertaining, and full of twists and turns, as a picaresque novel ... It has amazing zip and gusto, and leaves you wanting more -- CRAIG BROWN * Mail on Sunday *
Sparkling ... An extraordinary tranche of anecdote and apercu ... Feaver's wonderful biography comes close to Freud's own definition of his art: "A picture should be a recreation of an event rather than an illustration of an object" -- MICHAEL PRODGER * Sunday Times *
Superlative ... Every page of this volume affirms his distinction ... This is Lucian Freudian biography, packed with stories -- ALEXANDRA HARRIS * Guardian *
While he has ... filled his book to the brim with the excitement and strangeness of Freud's life, he sees him as painter rather than playboy ... He uses his extensive interviews with Freud subtly and judiciously ... the paintings hold their strength, their mystery, their distance. Freud, too, in Feaver's version, maintains his own strength, his mystery, his distance. His biographer makes no effort to delve into his inner being and explain his work accordingly. Freud's outer being gives him more than enough to go on -- COLM TOIBIN * London Review of Books *
Rich in gossip and written with effortless style -- ROBERT DOUGLAS FAIRHURST * Spectator, Books of the Year *
Lucian Freud was unique; unique in intensity, in affection, in interest and in fun. This brilliant and compendious biography has the same qualities. It does justice to Lucian -- FRANK AUERBACH
Mesmerising, almost surreal in its headlong layering of detail, memory and gossip. Propelled by Freud's sardonic recollections, and lit throughout by William Feaver's impeccable, penetrating analysis of the work, this is a monstrously brilliant portrait -- JENNY UGLOW
In William Feaver's The Lives of Lucian Freud, based upon decades of conversation with the painter, we hear Freud's remarkable voice on almost every page. The result is a vivid, intimate biography of one of the 20th century's most storied artists -- ANNALYN SWANN and MARK STEVENS, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of de Kooning: An American Master
Here, Freud gets to tell his version of events with panache * Spectator *
Sensational ... Rich with gossip and stories * Vogue *
A rich and elaborate biography * Irish Times *
A fascinatingly hybrid form of biography ... An epic cultural history, seen through the prism of someone hypnotically fascinating in real life * Tablet *
One of the most intimate biographies of an artist ever written ... Full of pithy observations, with just enough historical and social background to open up individual paintings and drawings to analysis ... A delight * Literary Review *

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