The NY Times loves everything about our Freud book
New York Times’ Sunday Book Review praises the text, images and colour choices - and it's not alone
Our new, two-volume Lucian Freud book is the most authoritative on the artist to date. However, it doesn’t spell everything out in black and white. As Mark Guiducci, the editor in chief of GARAGE magazine, notes in his review of the book for the New York Times, “observed closely, the typeface reveals itself to be not black, but instead a more Freudian grisailles.” That small detail is just one of the ways in which Guiducci is seduced by the “sensory experience” of handling this great book.
“At more than 600 pages, divided into two volumes, "this is the ne plus ultra of coffee-table tomes,” he writes in the Sunday Book Review. “The paintings, which were rephotographed with an almost religious devotion by the photographer John Riddy, crackle with the vivacity and grit that they impart in person.”
And, then, of course, there’s the accompanying text, which, among other things explores, “how Freud, in Martin Gayford’s words, “loathed” the mystification of symbolism and had a self-described “zoological” interest in the human body.”
The NY Times’ rave review is just one of many that have appeared in newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Jackie Wullschlager, writing in the Financial Times, made it her art book of the year, describing it as “provoking, vital, engrossing, gorgeously produced, revelatory even to Freud fans, and a joyous contribution to scholarship.”
Art historian Michael Prodger, writing in the Sunday Times, also described it as “the most beautiful art book of the year,” while also praising its scholarship and production values.
Rachel Campbell-Johnston, writing in the Times in London called the book a “picture perfect choices for art lovers,” adding that, “it discomfits and disturbs as much as it delights. The definitive volume for any Freud fan.”
Meanwhile, also writing in the Sunday Times, British arts correspondent Stephen Smith characterizes it as “a handsome and exhaustive retrospective book [that] will be buckling the legs of coffee tables in fortunate homes this Christmas.”
Almost every review delights in the book’s biographical details, which run from high society to lowlife. Guiducci, writing in the NY Times, is taken with elements from both ends of the scale, noting Freud’s reticence to paint Princess Diana – according to former model Louise Liddell “he couldn’t get past that sheen of glamour” – and his solution for keeping a rat still during one naked portrait – “plying his rodent subject with a dog bowl filled with Veuve Clicquot spiked with a crushed sleeping pill.”
That isn’t the sort of thing you learn at art school, yet these small details demonstrate, for Guiducci, Freud’s “fierce dedication” to his artistic vision; they also, perhaps highlight the devotion the book’s authors put into making this beautiful new tome. To buy your copy of our acclaimed new Freud book go here.