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The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth (Volume I 1922 - 1968) [9781408850930]

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** Shortlisted for The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2019 **

The story of an epic life, and the story of century told through one of its most important artists, The Life of Lucian Freud is a landmark not simply in the story of its subject but in the art of biography itself

Chosen as a Book of the Year 2019 by the Guardian and The Times, Lucian Freud (1922-2011) is one of the great painters of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Though ferociously private, he spoke on the phone almost daily for many years to his close confidante and collaborator William Feaver - about painting and the art world, but also about his life and loves.

Feaver wrote down their conversations immediately and typed up his hand-written account the next day. Shot through with Freud's own words, Feaver brings the elusive, maddening genius to life in this definitive and extraordinary work, both autobiography and biography.

In the first of two volumes, he conjures Freud's early childhood - the grandson of Sigmund Freud, born into a well-to-do middle-class Jewish family in Weimar Berlin, escaping Nazi Germany in 1934 and dropped into an English public school.

Following Freud through art school, his time in the Merchant Navy during the war, his post-war adventures in Europe, and his setting up as a painter in the then-seedy Maida Vale, Feaver traces a brilliant, difficult young man's coming of age, rejecting the popular style of his contemporaries to create art entirely on his own terms.

A passionate and often destructive lover, with swathes of admirers both male and female, the young Freud blazes on the page, tearing like a comet through post-war bohemian London.

AUTHOR: William Feaver is a painter, curator and author, and has been the art critic for the Observer for 23 years. He is on the Academic Board of the Royal Drawing School where he also currently tutors. As well as extensive work as a broadcaster he has produced films including Lucian Freud Portraits (with Jake Auerbach) and The Last Art Film. His book Pitmen Painters (about the Ashington Group in Northumberland) was adapted for the stage by Lee Hall and has been performed throughout the world since 2007. He curated Lucian Freud's 2002 retrospective at Tate Britain in 2002, and the 2012 exhibition of Freud's drawings in London and New York. He also curated the John Constable exhibition at the Grand Palais in 2002 with Freud. He has sat, weekly, for Frank Auerbach since 2003.

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William Feaver
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