Lucian Freud (1922-2011), widely regarded as the greatest figurative painter of our time, spent seven months painting a portrait of the art critic Martin Gayford. The daily narrative of their encounters takes the reader into that most private place, the artist’s studio, and to the heart of the working methods of this modern master—both technical and subtly psychological. From this emerges an understanding of what a portrait is, but something else is also created: a portrait, in words, of Freud himself. This is not a biography, but a series of close-ups: the artist at work and in conversation at restaurants, in taxis, and in his studio. It takes one into the company of the painter for whom Picasso, Giacometti, and Francis Bacon were friends and contemporaries, as were writers such as George Orwell and W. H. Auden.
The book is illustrated with many of Lucian Freud’s other works, telling photographs taken by David Dawson of Freud in his studio, and images by such great artists of the past as van Gogh and Titian who are discussed by Freud and Gayford.
Full of wry observations, the book reveals the inside story of how it feels to pose for a remarkable artist and become a work of art.
Thoughtful and moving …Man With a Blue Scarf [is] one of the most instructive books I’ve ever read about art.
— The New York Times Book Review
Amazing…It’s so fascinating to be inside Freud’s mind.
— The Boston Globe
Martin Gayford is art critic for The Spectator. His books include Man with a Blue Scarf, A Bigger Message, and Rendez-vouz with Art (with Philippe de Montebello).