Sunday, September 08, 2019

Lucian Freud - new books and exhibitions (Autumn 2019)

More on the famous painter Lucian Freud - this blog post covers

  • two books - about his plants and early life
  • two book reviews - of the latter
  • an article in today's Observer by William Feaver his biographer 
  • a talk at The London Library by William Feaver on 24th October, and 
  • an exhibition of self-portraits at the Royal Academy of Arts opening 27 October 

In fact a perfect surfeit for Lucian Freud fans!

Lucian Freud Herbarium

Lucian Freud's Herbarium by Giovanni Aloi - Published last week by Prestel
Yesterday I received a copy of Lucian Freud Herbarium from the publishers.

I've long been a HUGE fan of Freud's paintings of plants. The book reveals that's painted a lot more than I've seen and includes some of my absolute favourites - of which more when I review it on my Botanical Art and Artists News blog later this week

UK Book Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Prestel (5 Sept. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 379138533X
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791385334
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 2.3 x 31.4 cm

The Lives of Lucian Freud by William Feaver

I've been waiting since Lucian Freud died and the announcement that William Feaver would be publishing his biography for news of the book's publication.

Well it arrived last week - and it's not book but books - with a series title of The Lives of Lucian Freud. The subtitle for this first volume changes between the UK and the USA. In the UK it's called "Youth" and in the USA, I think they reflected on the fact it takes him up to the age of 50(!) and they've sub-titled it "The Restless Years".

We now have the first edition of what is obviously going to be a work of multiple volumes - and I have an addition to my birthday present list for "he who must not be bored".

Here are two reviews of the book:
UK Cover

I've not seen it, I can't tell you anything about it - but do know that it's:
  • based on very many discussions between Lucian Freud and William Feaver (on most days) since 
  • full of the "voice of Freud" - which is unsurprising given the tale of how he gathered his material - revealed in the article below.
BUY THIS BOOK (UK)  The Lives of Lucian Freud Youth from Amazon UK:

UK Book Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (5 Sept. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408850931
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408850930
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 6.6 x 24.1 cm
USA Cover
ORDER THIS BOOK (USA)The Lives of Lucian Freud: The Restless Years, 1922-1968 from

USA Book Details
  • Hardcover
  • Pages: 704 Pages 
  • Product Dimensions:  6-1/4" x 9-1/4"
  • ISBN 9780525657521
  • Published by Knopf / Penguin Random House
  • Publication date: Oct 29, 2019
  • Price: $40.00

UPDATE: After finishing and publishing the blog post I learned (from the FT) that there is also a THIRD new book - of photographs of Lucian Freud - due to be published next week titled Lucian Freud: A Life Edited by Mark Holborn and David Dawson.

There's a great article about it on the FT - Looking at Lucian Freud: photographic portraits of the artist - with LOTS of photos!

Book Details

  • Lucian Freud: A Life - ORDER/BUY from Amazon UK | from
  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; 1 edition (12 Sept. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714877530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714877532
  • Product Dimensions: 28.4 x 3.6 x 36.3 cm
  • Price: £150 | $200

Article by William Feaver (his biographer)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: ‘I was Lucian Freud’s spare pair of eyes’ by William Feaver  | The Observer 8 September 2019

This is an absolutely fascinating article which tells the story of how Feaver first met Freud and how come he's writing his "authorised" biography - in the sense that he was banned by Freud of publishing anything in his lifetime - but could do after he was dead.

I guess it is also something of a taster for the first volume of Feaver's biography of Freud which was published last week.

I've saved it for reading again and referencing it in the future.

William Feaver on the Lives of Lucian Freud

Based on the above article, I've also just booked my ticket for the talk by William Feaver at the London Library on 24th October (6.45pm - to 8.30pm)

Check out Eventbrite for more details
William Feaver on the Lives of Lucian Freud 
Date: Thu, 24 October 2019
Time: 18:45 – 20:30 BST
Location: The London Library, 14 Saint James's Square, London SW1Y 4LG

Non-members are £15 per ticket

Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits

This autumn there is an exhibition of self portraits by Lucian Freud at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Crop of "Self Portrait, Reflection" (2002) Lucian Freud
I have on my iMac a wonderful folder full of the photos I took at the press preview for the retrospective exhibition of portraits by Lucian Freud at the National Portrait Gallery in 2012.

As an exhibition it had the major advantage of:
  • having been organised in close collaboration with the late Lucian Freud (these sort of exhibitions take years to come to fruition) 
  • focusing on paintings of the artist's lovers, friends and family, referred to by Freud as the 'people in my life' - as well as self-portraits
  • including 130 works from museums and private collections throughout the world, some of which have never been seen before.

It was an amazing exhibition - and one which has remained inside my memory.

Hence I'm rather puzzled as to why the Royal Academy of Arts is hosting a second exhibition - within 7 years of the first.

However I do suppose its focus on his self-portraits does provide some sort of justification.....
When asked if he was a good model for himself Freud replied, “No, I don’t accept the information that I get when I look at myself, that’s where the trouble starts”.
.....were it not for the view of Lucian Freud that all or most of his paintings were, in effect, autobiographical
'My work was purely autobiographical. It is about myself and my surroundings. It is an attempt at a record. I work from people that interest me and that I care about, in rooms that I live in and know.'

Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits is at the Royal Academy, London, 27 October to 26 January 2020

Interestingly if you put "Lucian Freud portraits" into Google, the NPG microsite for their exhibition (see above link) outranks the RA Exhibitions microsite!