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Artists' Lives

Michael Peppiatt


Engaging encounters, personal anecdotes and jargon-free critical insights into some of the liveliest creative minds in modern art, by an international art world insider

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Praised by the Art Newspaper as ‘the best art writer of his generation’, Michael Peppiatt has encountered many European modern artists over more than fifty years. This selection of some of his best biographical writing covers a wide spectrum of modern art, from Van Gogh and Pierre Bonnard, to personal conversations with painter Sonia Delaunay, artist Dora Maar, who was Picasso’s lover in the 1930s and 1940s, and Francis Bacon, perhaps the most famous of the many artists with whom Peppiatt has formed personal friendships.

Michael Peppiatt’s lively, engaging writing takes us into the company of many notable art-world personalities, such as the Catalan painter Antoni Tàpies, whom he visits in his studio, and moments of disillusion, such as his meeting with the self-mythologizing artist Balthus. Art criticism blends with anecdote: riding with Lucian Freud in his Bentley, drinking with Bacon in Soho, discussing Picasso’s trousers with David Hockney...

This collection of Peppiatt’s most perceptive texts includes under-recognized artists, such as Dachau survivor Zoran Music, or Montenegrin artist Dado, whose retrospective Peppiatt curated at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Remarkably varied in their scope and lucidly written for a general reader, these selected essays not only provide us with perceptive commentary and acute critical judgment, they also give a unique personal insight into some of the greatest creative minds of the modern era.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 23.4 x 15.3 cm

Extent: 304 pp

Publication date: 6 April 2023

ISBN: 9780500021965

Contents List

1. Vincent van Gogh: Between Shadows and the Sun
2. Aristide Maillol and the Red Count
3. The Darker Side of Pierre Bonnard
4. Aubrey Beardsley’s Brief Brilliance
5. Picasso’s Trousers
6. Joan Miró: A Painter Among Poets
7. Talking to Sonia Delaunay
8. Christian Schad’s Portraits of the 1920s
9. A Tribute to Dora Maar
10. Alice Bellony Rewald: Portrait of a Muse
11. John Richardson, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
12. Henri Michaux Painter-Poet
13. Jean Dubuffet’s War on Culture
14. From Breton to Beckett: The Writers in Giacometti’s Life
15. Remembering Alberto Giacometti. An Interview with Jacques Dupin
16. A Broken Dream of Balthus
17. The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí
18. Looking Back at Nicolas de Staël
19. Zoran Music: Art after Dachau
20. Dado and the Atrocity of Everyday Life
21. In memoriam: Antoni Tàpies
22. The Paradox of Francis Bacon
23. The Legacy of Genius: Van Gogh and Bacon
24. Bacon/Giacometti: Parallel Visions of a Terrible Truth
25. Lucian Freud’s Large Interior, W11 (after Watteau)
26. Raymond Mason Confronts the Torrent of Life
27. R. B. Kitaj: Paintings as Novels

About the Author

Michael Peppiatt is a well-known writer and curator, who began his career as an art critic in London and Paris in the 1960s. Described by the Art Newspaper as ‘the best art writer of his generation’, his previous books include Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma and Francis Bacon: Studies for a Portrait. He is guest curator of the Royal Academy of Arts’ exhibition ‘Francis Bacon: Man and Beast’ (London, 2022).