William Feaver is a painter, curator, broadcaster and author, and was the art critic for the Observer for 23 years. He is on the Academic Board of the Royal Drawing School where he also currently tutors. He has produced films with Jake Auerbach, including Lucian Freud Portraits. He curated Lucian Freud's 2002 retrospective at Tate Britain, the Museo Correr and in Barcelona and Los Angeles, and the 2012 exhibition of Freud's drawings in London and New York. He also curated the 2002 John Constable exhibition at the Grand Palais with Freud. The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize and the Apollo Awards. He lives in London.
The concluding volume of Feaver's unmissable biography sees the great painter evolving from enfant terrible into Old Devil - although really was a man ever so uncompromisingly himself from cradle to grave? As a life it's both a horrible warning and a shining example, and Feaver does it justice * Daily Telegraph * Freud's voice rings out on every page, offering opinions on everything from the poutiness of some of his less-acknowledged children ... to the sublimity of Titian's Diana and Callisto. There's plenty of celebrity juice here too * Guardian, Best Art Books of 2020 * Huge, gossipy and sometimes shocking ... no less breezy and eye-popping than the first * The Times and Sunday Times Best Books of 2020 * William Feaver's biography of Lucian Freud also comes in two parts. I read the second part, Fame: 1968-2011 (Bloomsbury) this year and found it as engrossing and well informed as the first, and as judicious and well written -- Colm Toibin * New Statesman, Books of the Year * [One of] the best things I read this year ... crammed with enough jaw-dropping, buttocks-clenching revelations to keep a whole Soho pub entertained for days -- Robert Douglas Fairhurst * Spectator, Books of the Year * Explosively enjoyable, bursting with life and art, and all focused on a central figure as wild and beguiling as any character in literature, real or fictitious ... Feaver is wonderfully deft at interweaving the art and the life in an unshowy manner. Throughout the two volumes he manages to convey Freud's personal magnetism, and the way he was simultaneously controlled and controlling and out of control. And, rare for a biographer, he shows what it was like to be with his subject from day to day -- Craig Brown * Mail on Sunday * Magnificent ... Reads like the last days of Rome ... Feaver shares his subject's style and timing. His clipped prose is running commentary and ironic aside; the sentences, bone-dry, have dramatic entrances -- Frances Wilson * Times Literary Supplement * If Freud's pictures are at heart all about palpable reality, the same is true of Feaver's daunting enterprise ... David Hockney described Freud's portraits as being essentially an account of looking , and that's just what Feaver's book is too * Sunday Times * Does justice to Freud's pitiless genius as an artist * Daily Mail * An extremely juicy biography ... You can hear Freud's voice on the page, which is thrilling ...Bulges with gossipy stuff ... He was more vivid than other people ... and Feaver's great and generous achievement in his book is to enable us to imagine this. Its last lines - Freud tells him, that he's always liked lipstick on the teeth - are so perfect. Somehow, they say it all. Dress up, go out, get laid. And then try to get it all down in your work: Tell people you've been alive -- Rachel Cooke * Observer * A biography that is as generous and unsparing as Freud's own best work. At once personally intimate and critically detached, perceptive on the art ... but never trying to compete with it, Feaver's biographical portrait is an unforgettable achievement * Prospect * Superb and eye-opening ... A figure who was driven by strong appetites, told the truth when it was uncomfortable or unwanted, and used paint to play a complicated game in which self-revelation was strangely mixed up with self-disguise. * Prospect * 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 -- Elizabeth Lowry * Guardian * Diverting ... Freud played the mischievous bar-room raconteur, chuckling over bygone stunts and scrapes, and sticking the knife into old foes with venomous relish * Sunday Telegraph * The latest instalment of the epic biography of Lucian Freud finds him at the height of his fame * The Times * Absorbing in all its darkness and light, a dazzling tour de force ... Remarkable ... we have to be grateful that his Boswell was there to make a record * Literary Review * The first volume of Feaver's biography of the artist was highly acclaimed. This second one covers his most productive years * Sunday Times * PRAISE FOR THE LIVES OF LUCIAN FREUD: YOUTH: 'William Feaver has done a brilliant job -- Lynn Barber * Daily Telegraph * Freud emerges, dab by dab, fully three-dimensional from Feaver's vibrant recitation of dealers and models, works in progress and gambling ... 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 * SUNDAY TIMES * Freud and Feaver seize you by the elbows, bundle you into a Bentley, haul you round the nightclubs, feed you oysters, Guinness and amphetamines and order you Russian tea and eggs the next morning. I didn't know whether I'd been roughed up or ravished * The Times * This is a tremendous read. Anyone interested in British art needs it ... An extraordinary book -- Andrew Marr * New Statesman * A biography that is as entertaining, and full of twists and turns, as a picaresque novel ... It has amazing zip and gusto, and leaves you wanting more -- Craig Brown * Mail on Sunday * Sparkling ... An extraordinary tranche of anecdote and apercu ... Feaver's wonderful biography comes close to Freud's own definition of his art: A picture should be a recreation of an event rather than an illustration of an object * Sunday Times * Superlative ... Every page of this volume affirms his distinction ... This is Lucian Freudian biography, packed with stories -- Alexandra Harris * Guardian * Lucian Freud was unique; unique in intensity, in affection, in interest and in fun. This brilliant and compendious biography has the same qualities. It does justice to Lucian -- Frank Auerbach Feaver has filled his book to the brim with the excitement and strangeness of Freud's life -- Colm Toibin * London Review of Books * Mesmerising, almost surreal in its headlong layering of detail, memory and gossip. Propelled by Freud's sardonic recollections, and lit throughout by William Feaver's impeccable, penetrating analysis of the work, this is a monstrously brilliant portrait -- Jenny Uglow In William Feaver's The Lives of Lucian Freud, based upon decades of conversation with the painter, we hear Freud's remarkable voice on almost every page. The result is a vivid, intimate biography of one of the 20th century's most storied artists -- Annalyn Swann and Mark Stevens, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of de Kooning: An American Master Here, Freud gets to tell his version of events with panache * Spectator *