Lucian Freud

I have at last finished William Feaver’s extraordinarily long and strangely dispassionate biography of only the first half of Lucian Freud’s life, which tells one not just a huge amount about Freud’s psychology and appetite for both low life and high – gambling, women, poetry – but, also, about the different atmospheres of London in the 1950s, especially Paddington, but also Soho and, more intermittently, St. John’s Wood. It is a remarkable achievement to have documented and recorded so much about an artist who kept his private life private. Does it help to explain his art ? I am less sure, except that it explains his obsessive, energetic, sometimes animal drive, careless of women, who loved him for it.


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