The Lives of Lucian Freud: Fame, 1968–2011
by William Feaver
Bloomsbury, $69.99 hb, 568 pp
To start with the broadest of generalisations, artists’ biographies can be divided into three types: those that concentrate on the work; those that take the life as their focus; and the ‘life and times’ volumes that attempt to place the artist in her social and political context.
And then there is William Feaver’s massive 1,248-page, two-volume extravaganza on Lucian Freud (1922–2011). It had been Feaver’s original intention to produce ‘a brief account of Freud the artist’, but over time, as the pair became closer, the recorded reminiscences grew and grew and an understanding developed that Feaver would produce what Freud called ‘a novel’ after his death.