Man With A Blue Scarf, Paperback book

Man With A Blue Scarf: On Sitting For A Portrait By Lucian Freud[Paperback]

by Martin Gayford

4.62 out of 5 (4 ratings)

Thames & Hudson Ltd 
Publication Date:
05 March 2012 
History of Art & Design Styles: From C 1900 - 


A beautifully produced paperback edition of the literary art book hailed as one of the best and most continually fascinating books about painting in recent memory. Lucian Freud (1922-2011) spent seven months painting a portrait of the art critic Martin Gayford. Gayford describes the process chronologically, from the day he arrived for the first sitting through to his meeting with the couple who bought the finished painting. As Freud creates a portrait of Gayford, so the art critic produces his own portrait of the notoriously private artist, recounting their wide-ranging conversations and giving a rare insight into Freuds working practice. The book is illustrated throughout with photographs by David Dawson of Freud at work, with paintings by Freud from the 1940s to the present, and images by other artists discussed by Freud with Gayford. The result vividly conveys what it is like to be on the inside of the process of creating a painting by a great artist. "It will be read as long as Freuds work is admired". ("The Sunday Times"). "If it is Freud who dominates this book, it is Gayfords achievement to bring him out and to do so with wit and humor as well as acute intelligence. "Man with a Blue Scarf" is literally inimitable no one else is going to get this opportunity. It's the real deal". ("The Guardian"). "A journal, an act of confession, a character study of Freud, a piecemeal survey of art history and an investigation into the practicalities of portraiture". ("The Spectator"). "Gayfords observations and Dawsons photos provide a unique insight into the working habits of the greatest painter of the human frame in all its infinite variety". ("New Statesman"). "Freud is vividly surprising, potent and dynamic a portrait of an anarchic painter with views on everything from Leonardos failings to Princess Margarets voice". ("The Observer").

Showing 1-4 out of 4 reviews.

  • A fascinating diary of the painter and the sitter. Lucian Freud's gradual accumulations, assiduous accretions of paint - adding, removing - arranging, seemingly looking for the fault lines, jowls, weighty stomachs - fleshly portals of discovery and insight from off guard moments that inform the final portrait.Then we have another portrait, that of the painter by the sitter, adding Lucian Freud's own reported words. Histories colour in the background and from time to time an older Europe stalks the palate's edges, rubbing up against London's multi-faceted life and personalities: the Krays, Francis Bacon, the telling lubricated by the occasional glass of fine claret and/or champagne. Glimpses of catalysts for creativity as remarkable creatures, including horses and dogs, strut across the scene - all go into the mix for this chronicle of a genius at work.

    5.00 out of 5


  • I loved this book, when I started reading it, I couldn't put it down! Learned a lot about art, LF, and Bacon. An inside look at the art world Excellent book

    5.00 out of 5


  • Lucian Freud (8 December 1922 – 20 July 2011) was considered one of the greatest living artists until his death last year. A friend of Picasso, Giacometti and most famously, Francis Bacon, he was also the grandson of that <i>other</i> Freud. When figure painting went out of style in favour of abstraction in the 50s and 60s, he continued working from the model. According to the wikipedia entry, "his works are noted for their psychological penetration, and for their often discomforting examination of the relationship between artist and model." Part of the discomfort for the model would have been the fact that Freud demanded that his model be available to him on a regular basis for indeterminate periods of time, which usually meant many months, with multiple sittings every week, working at a famously incredibly slow pace, some paintings took over a year to complete, which for the models meant hundreds of hours posing under the painter's scrutiny. Martin Gayford, an art critic who's also written a book about Van Gogh, knew Freud and suggested posing for a portrait while writing about the experience for a book project, an idea which the painter apparently heartily encouraged as one of the project's most fervent champions. This is surprising when one knows that Freud shied away from photographers and journalists his whole life, preferring to retain his privacy and let others interpret his work as they wished. Gayford obviously took copious notes throughout his sittings, and quickly establishes that Freud, far from demanding that his models sit still for hours on end, on the contrary likes to engage his models in lively conversation and see the various expressions which animate each individual. Though the book is presented in the form of a journal of sorts, with each entry prefaced by a date, what emerges through all the fascinating conversations during nine months of sittings, restaurant meals and taxi rides, is the portrait of a brilliant mind of great intellect with fascinating views and amazing life experiences. This book, published by Thames & Hudson, who mostly produce high quality art books, is illustrated throughout with paintings from different periods of Freud's long and very successful career. A must for art lovers of every kind and certainly for Lucian Freud fans.

    4.50 out of 5


  • this is one of the best books i read this year so far. very interesting semibiography as the author sits for a portrait. the hard cover volume is fantastic with excellent illustrations.

    4.00 out of 5


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