The Lives of Lucian Freud: The Restless Years, 1922-1968 (Borzoi Book)

November 1, 2020
The Lives of Lucian Freud: The Restless Years, 1922-1968 (Borzoi Book)

The first biography of the epic life of one of the mostimportant, enigmatic and private artists of the 20th century. Drawnfrom almost 40 years of conversations with the artist, letters andpapers, it is a major work written by a well-known British artcritic.Lucian Freud (1922-2011) is one of the most influentialfigurative painters of the 20th century. His paintings are in everymajor museum and many private collections here and abroad. WilliamFeaver's daily calls from 1973 until Freud died in 2011, as well asinterviews with family and friends were crucial sources for thisbook.Freud had ferocious energy, worked day and night but hiscircle was broad including not just other well-known artists butwriters, bluebloods, royals in England and Europe, drag queens,fashion models gamblers, bookies and gangsters like the Kray twins.Fierce, rebellious, charismatic, extremely guarded about his life,he was witty, mischievous and a womanizer.This brilliantly researched and well written book begins withthe Freuds' life in Berlin, the rise of Hitler and the family'sescape to London in 1933 when Lucian was 10. Sigmund Freud was hisgrandfather and Ernst, his father was an architect. In London inhis twenties, his first solo show was in 1944 at the LefevreGallery. Around this time, Stephen Spender introduced him toVirginia Woolf, at night he was taking Pauline Tennant to theGargoyle Club, owned by her father and frequented by Dylan Thomas;he was also meeting Sonia Orwell, Cecil Beaton, Auden, PatrickLeigh-Fermor and the Aly Khan, and his muse was a married femmefatale, 13 years older, Lorna Wishart. But it was Francis Bacon whowould become his most important influence and the painters FrankAuerbach and David Hockney, close friends.On Freud's first trip to Paris in 1946 he met the artistsPicasso, Giacometti, Andre Breton, Alexander Calder and Balthus.Next was a trip to Greece then trips to the south of France withthe Graham Sutherlands. More shows followed in London and Paris andKenneth Clark tried to buy a painting in 1947 for the Tate, AlfredBarr did buy one for MoMa in 1948, the year Freud married his firstwife Kitty Garman Epstein, the daughter of the famous sculptor,Jacob Epstein. In 1952 he eloped with Lady Caroline Blackwood toParis where they married in 1953; there were two girls from thefirst marriage but he had twelve other children from his manyliaisons.This is an extremely intimate, lively and rich portrait of theartist, full of gossip and stories recounted by Freud to Feaverabout people, encounters, and work. Freud's art was his life—"mywork is purely autobiographical"—and he usually painted onlyfamily, friends, lovers, children, though there were exceptionslike the famous small portrait of the Queen. With his laterportraits, the subjects were often nude, names were never given andsittings could take up to 16 months, each session lasting fivehours but subjects were rarely bored as Freud was a great raconteurand mimic. This book is a major achievement, a tour de force thatreveals the details of the life and innermost thoughts of thegreatest portrait painter of our time.Volume I has 41 black and white integrated images, and 2eight-page color inserts.