One of the most original, enjoyable, and informative publications about art in our time: the history of a portrait by a major artist as seen from the sitter’s point of view.
Lucian Freud, perhaps the world's leading portrait painter, 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, and he vividly conveys what it is like to be on the inside of the process of creating a work of art.
As Freud completes his portrait of Gayford, so the art critic produces his own portrait of the artist, giving a rare insight into Freud’s working practice. Through their wide-ranging conversations, the reader learns not only about Freud’s choice of models, lighting, setting, pose, and colors, but also about his likes and dislikes, his encounters and experiences, and the ways in which he approaches his relationship with each portrait subject. Gayford records Freud’s observations on the work of Michelangelo, Vermeer, Titian, Chardin, Goya, van Gogh, Mondrian, and his great contemporary Francis Bacon. The book is full of revealing anecdotes about the people Freud has met in the course of his long career, including Max Ernst, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, George Orwell, W. H. Auden, Greta Garbo, and his grandfather Sigmund Freud.
Illustrated with photographs of Freud at work and an etching that Freud did of Gayford after the painting was completed, the book also features other paintings by Freud from the 1940s to the present, as well as images by artists discussed by Freud with Gayford. 50 color and 14 black-and-white illustrations