Elspeth Barker

Artist Of The Portrait

Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud


Thames & Hudson 247pp £18.95 order from our bookshop

Martin Gayford is an art critic and the author of studies of Constable and Van Gogh. In 2003 he offered to sit for a portrait by Lucian Freud, whom he had known both professionally and as a friend for ten years. This book is composed of reflections and memories of the ensuing eighteen months, during which Freud completed two portraits: the oil painting Man in a Blue Scarf and an etching. Throughout the sittings Gayford kept notes on his own thoughts, Freud’s technique, conversations over dinner, the studio, and other sitters. He describes the result as a ‘painting of my own fascination with the whole process of being painted’, and ‘a sort of accidental self-portrait’, but it is also an impressionistic attempt to capture something of the essence of the mercurial Freud.

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