Feaver, William: The Lives of Lucian Freud – Fame, 1968-2011


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”In this brilliant second and final volume of the definitive biography of Lucian Freud–one of the most influential, enigmatic and secretive artists of the twentieth century–William Feaver, the noted art critic, draws on years of daily conversations with Freud, on his private papers and letters and on interviews with his friends and family to explore the intimate life of Freud, from age forty-five to his death in 2011 at the age of eighty-nine. The final forty years of Freud’s life were a period of increasing recognition and fame, and of prodigious output. He was obsessed with his art, and with the idea of producing paintings that ”astonish, disturb, seduce, convince.” He was equally energetic and ambitious in his private life. This book opens with his dramatic affair with Jacquetta Eliot, which led to some of his most intimate portraits and to the start of two important, lifelong friendships, with Jane Willoughby and Susanna Chancellor. Freud talks about his art at all stages, how it changed in the seventies and his first retrospective in London in 1974. His move to a new studio in Holland Park in the late seventies marked an important increase in the scale of his work, such as Large Interior W11 (After Watteau), which was his breakthrough painting. In this space, people would come and go–his children, his lover, the painter Celia Paul and all the sitters from his nightlife. His close friendship with Francis Bacon would end and be replaced with that of Frank Auerbach. His obsession with gambling would give way to work, and from the nineties through the 2000s, a wide range of subjects would sit for him, including the performance artist Leigh Bowery; Kate Moss; Jerry Hall; supervisor Sue Tilley; his longtime assistant, David Dawson; his own children; and, in 2001, Queen Elizabeth. Two phenomenally successful exhibitions would transform his international reputation: the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC in 1988 and a retrospective at the Tate in 2002. Here is Freud’s voice–still as fierce, complicated, witty and charismatic as in his youth–talking about his art, his friends and lovers and the gossip about them all, making this volume, like the first, a nod to autobiography. Vivid and engrossing, The Lives of Lucian Freud is a dazzling and authoritative tour de force that reveals important new details about the thoughts, the life and the work of this elusive artist.”


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