‘What can painting do?’
This question bound together a diverse community of artists in London after the Second World War. In answering it, many became household names: Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Gillian Ayres, Frank Bowling, Howard Hodgkin and more.
Drawing on decades of interviews, Martin Gayford unpicks the creative threads and maverick personalities of interwoven lives from postwar Soho bohemia to the Swinging Sixties. It is a story of friendships, experiences and artistic concerns shared between talented individuals who each developed their own singular approach to painting. All passionately believed that even in the age of new media, an ancient form could do fresh and marvellous things.
'All the good stories, and more, are here … a genuinely encyclopaedic work … Everybody interested in the subject should read it'
Andrew Marr, Sunday Times
'Superb … you hang on to every word'
Rachel Cooke, Observer
'A seminal work: limpidly written, replete with lightly worn scholarship and unrivalled intimate knowledge'
William Boyd, New Statesman
'A masterpiece … a major work of art history'
Wall Street Journal