In this second and final volume of the definitive biography of Lucian Freud—one of the most influential, enigmatic and secretive artists of the twentieth century—William Feaver, the noted art critic, draws on years of daily conversations with Freud, on his private papers and letters and on interviews with his friends and family to explore the intimate life of Freud, from age forty-five to his death in 2011 at the age of eighty-nine.
William Feaver, a friend and collaborator of Freud’s for 30 years, gives us a Lucian who always resisted categorisation ... Having enjoyed almost unrivalled daily access to Freud, Feaver records with little editorial filtering the egotism, the sexual prowling and the remorseless urge to produce of these later years, allowing Freud to reveal himself in his own words on every page. It’s a mesmerising picture of a paintaholic who was incorrigibly on the make ... Feaver’s vastly detailed biography is the ideal companion to Freud’s work. It resembles nothing so much as a large Freud canvas: hypnotic, occasionally reiterative, quirkily dark in places, proceeding by a process of obsessive accretion.
... exemplary ... Along with the previous installment, Fame is everything an artist’s biography ought to be—illuminating, allergic to cant, personal, enormously picaresque—but so seldom is. Mr. Feaver’s Lives of Freud cannot be praised too highly ... Mr. Feaver does not do grandiose exegesis. Insights are gleaned from conversation and canny observation.
The sheer volume of material garnered and the liveliness of Freud’s speech and orbit mean that the whole project is less like traditional biography than extended reportage mixed with diary entries. This is an account of a life rather than a critical examination of one, and the art history is minimal; the paintings were Freud’s purpose so for Feaver their role is as props that framed his life rather than as objects for critical scrutiny in themselves ... Freud emerges, dab by dab, fully three-dimensional from Feaver’s vibrant recitation of dealers and models ... David Hockney, another sitter, described Freud’s portraits as being essentially 'an account of looking', and that’s just what Feaver’s book is too.