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Golf Grips and Swastikas

William Feaver: Francis Bacon’s Litter, 26 February 2009

Francis Bacon: Incunabula 
edited by Martin Harrison and Rebecca Daniels.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £39.95, September 2008, 978 0 500 09344 3
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... Originally (though Harrison and Daniels do not say so) this read: ‘wartime romances: William Feaver recalls a trend in English painting that flourished in the 1940s’. Bruce Bernard, then the Sunday Times Magazine picture editor, and I had spent weeks picking the images for an article on the neo-romantic insularity of such artists as Graham ...

In the Studio

William Feaver: Sitting for Frank Auerbach, 22 October 2009

... The zest is illusory though. It’s more a matter of letting go. Frank Auerbach, ‘Head of William Feaver II 2008’ Early this year Auerbach relinquished the last of several versions of The Tree Opposite, paintings of the wall along one side of the alley outside his studio, the steps, a wicket gate, and hints of parked cars under ebullient ...


William Feaver: John and Myfanwy Piper, 17 December 2009

John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art 
by Frances Spalding.
Oxford, 598 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 0 19 956761 4
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... The elongated shards of smog grey, pea green and lemonade that, since 1968, have cast a wan light on pews reserved for the use of MPs in St Margaret’s, Westminster, are untypical of John Piper. Normally, his stained glass seethes, particularly in Coventry Cathedral, where a Piper sunburst behind the boulder that serves as a font irradiates a great wall of clunky fenestration ...

Oh for the oo tray

William Feaver: Edward Burra, 13 December 2007

Edward Burra: Twentieth-Century Eye 
by Jane Stevenson.
Cape, 496 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 224 07875 7
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... Delicately, like a surgeon baring a pus-filled appendix, the man behind the counter slices a catering-size salami. His customer feeds a sandwich into her mouth, careful not to smudge the lipstick. Dolled up to the nines and facing professional competition from the pair of high-heeled legs just visible through the street door, she averts her eyes and readies herself for the first bite ...


Celia Paul: Painting in the Dark, 17 December 2020

... artists to whom I feel most deeply connected. Longing powers my own art.In the second volume of William Feaver’s biography of Lucian Freud (Bloomsbury, £35), David Dawson, Lucian’s long-serving assistant, describes Susanna Chancellor, the woman who remained Lucian’s partner longer than anyone else, as ‘a proper woman, not one of these ...

Falling in love with Lucian

Colm Tóibín: Lucian Freud’s Outer Being, 10 October 2019

The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth, 1922-68 
by William Feaver.
Bloomsbury, 680 pp., £35, September 2019, 978 1 4088 5093 0
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... argument against his taking up French.’ His handwriting ‘was, and remained, unschooled’, William Feaver writes in his new biography, and adds: ‘Having to learn to write with his right hand in a new language and a new script prompted him to feel that such discipline, being foreign to him, was not for him. This became his pattern of behaviour at ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Michael Andrews, 9 August 2001

... the first time. Andrews followed a route which depersonalises the act of looking. He was taught by William Coldstream, and said: ‘Bill gave me my first enlightenment. He persuaded me of the paramount value of looking, of appraisal and, in transcription, of direct statement, of which he said: “Just write it down.” It was so simple and ...
... Thirties exhibition, an enterprise on the largest scale, put together by a committee chaired by William Feaver. Modernist white walls mask the emphatic textures and shapes of the interior of the shell, so that Fifties Brutalism encloses Thirties Modern. But what is displayed in the cases and on the walls is an attempt at total recall. A huge range of ...


Gaby Wood: Lucian Freud’s Printmaking, 1 June 2023

... and 1974, however, he showed no drawings at all, having come to think, as he told his biographer William Feaver, that his compulsion for linear accuracy was a ‘limiting and limited vehicle’. ‘He seems to have distrusted his own facility as a draughtsman,’ Treves writes, ‘and feared the future it promised of book illustration and ...

Feigning a Relish

Nicholas Penny: One Tate or Two, 15 October 1998

The Tate: A History 
by Frances Spalding.
Tate Gallery, 308 pp., £25, April 1998, 1 85437 231 9
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... went on exhibition at the Tate. Then Hirst won the Turner Prize. According to one of the jury, William Feaver, who is quoted by Spalding, this was ‘for panache and effrontery ... He has been the leading brainstormer of his generation of artists, a goad and corrective, showing up the solemnity of professional art curators while demonstrating that ...

Two Poems

Vicki Feaver, 19 April 1990

... of souls and bowels. Is Asra still keeping Sam on a string? Did he really see her in bed with William? How are dear Dorothy’s scarlet runners? I suppose I’m jealous – as a mountaineer’s wife is jealous of mountains, or a lone sailor’s of the tug of the sea. We sit in the Dawn of the Raj after three days apart sharing a Tandoori Mixed ...

Frank Auerbach’s London

T.J. Clark: Frank Auerbach, 10 September 2015

... the man in the handcuffs suddenly sang/With grimful glee …’ Frank Auerbach to William Feaver And the man in the handcuffs suddenly sang With grimful glee: ‘This life so free Is the thing for me!’ And the constable smiled, and said no word. Thomas Hardy, ‘At the Railway Station, Upway’ I remember​ the first time I saw, or ...

Open in a Scream

Colm Tóibín, 4 March 2021

Francis Bacon: Revelations 
by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan.
William Collins, 869 pp., £30, January, 978 0 00 729841 9
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... he had ‘lost his self-respect when he gave up his profession as a burglar’. Freud told William Feaver, his biographer: ‘It was awfully tragic, really. Francis stopped fancying him and George was in love with him. Francis got him these marvellous – horrible – grand flats, but [George] wanted to be with him.’Bacon’s painting was being ...

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