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 conversations with painter Sonia Delaunay, artist and photographer 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 introduces us to many notable art-world personalities, such as the Catalan painter Antoni Tapies, 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: Peppiatt recalls riding with Lucian Freud in his Bentley, drinking with Bacon in Soho, and many more revealing moments.
This collection of Peppiatt’s most perceptive texts includes encounters with underrecognized artists, such as Dachau survivor Zoran Mušic, 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. This book is a must-read for all lovers of modernism and post-war paintingin particular.
Michael Peppiatt is a well-known writer and curator, who began his career as an art critic in London and Paris in the 1960s. His previous books include Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma and Francis Bacon: Studies for a Portrait. He was guest curator of the Royal Academy of Arts’ exhibition “Francis Bacon: Man and Beast” (London, 2022).