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Breakfast with Lucian [Hardcover]

Geordie Greig
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
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Book Description

3 Oct 2013

For ten years Geordie Greig was among a very small group of friends who regularly met Lucian Freud for breakfast at Clarke's restaurant on Kensington Church Street. Over tea and the morning papers, Freud would recount stories of his past and discuss art. It was, in effect, Freud's private salon.

In this kaleidoscopic memoir, Greig remembers Freud's stories: of death threats; escaping from Nazi Germany; falling out with his brother Clement; loathing his mother; painting David Hockney; sleeping with horses; escaping the Krays; painting the Queen; his controversial role as a father; and why Velázquez was the greatest painter. It is revelatory about his art, his lovers, his children, his enemies and his love of gambling. Freud dared never to do dull, speaking candidly of dancing with Garbo as well as painting Kate Moss naked.

Those closest to him, after decades of silence and secrecy, have spoken frankly about what life was like living, loving or sitting for the greatest figurative portraitist of the twentieth century. Partly based on hours of taped conversations with the artist and his circle, and drawing on interviews with those who knew Freud intimately - including many girlfriends, models, dealers and bookmakers - Breakfast with Lucian is an intimate portrait of the artist as a young and old man. Illustrated with many unseen photographs of Freud, it is a uniquely fascinating, personal and authoritative account of one of the greatest British painters of this century and the last, and a profile of a man who makes everyone else's life seem less lived.

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Breakfast with Lucian + Man With a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud + Lucian Freud: Painting People
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (3 Oct 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0224096850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224096850
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 18.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Geordie Greig has written a gripping, elegant and original book, shapely and full of unexpected matter. It will surely establish him as a master biographer." (V. S. Naipaul)

"Geordie Greig has written an extraordinary, candid book which is at times intensely shocking and at other times even more intensely moving." (Antonia Fraser)

"Insightful, gossipy, funny, a bit shocking. The most entertaining biography I have read in a long time." (Philip Kerr Daily Mail)

"Breakfast with Lucian is a superb, flawlessly crafted portrait of about as messy a life as was ever lived...out of which emerged the greatest British painter of the past one hundred years." (Tom Wolfe)

"A must for lovers of that extraordinary artist." (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

'Breakfast with Lucian is a superb, flawlessly crafted portrait of about as messy a life as was ever lived...out of which emerged the greatest British painter of the past one hundred years.' Tom Wolfe

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent portrayal of a complex man 31 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lucien Freud was not a simple man. Indeed, he was not always a likeable man. He was, however, a great man. This book portrays the complexity and the greatness with equal adroitness, helped by the fact that the author, Geordie Greig, knew him well in his latter years. While the friendship is the reason the book exists, and why it has its title, Greig has not written a piece of hagiography but a biography which reveals an enormous amount about the man and his work.
It is not a conventional biography following a strict chronology, but a work which attempts to reveal the real Freud. In some ways it can be likened to the painter's work; it draws on particular features of its subject and does not flinch from an honest representation. At times Freud's refusal to behave in the way society expects offends, but Greig does not attempt to justify or exonerate except in that he is giving a true portrait. Freud appears solipsistic to unacceptable levels and Greig recounts his treatment of women and, at times, his children with honesty and with a critical voice, but this is tempered by the affection with which even those he has treated badly regard him.
Greig does not write from the point of view of an art critic and this is the book's strength to the non-expert but interested reader. Insight into Freud's paintings is given with a personal touch: the sitter is of as much interest to Greig as the painting. The illustrations which are dotted through the text take on a new resonance after reading of the painting's genesis and both the sitter and the work is enhanced by this. Greig also provides comment on Freud's techniques in a way which helps explain what has always been familiar when looking at a Freud painting - the thick application of paint and the attention to the minutiae of his subject.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SLIM PICKINGS INDEED 8 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A couple of weeks ago The Daily Mail[cue dry heaving and gagging]ran extracts from Breakfast With Lucian proclaiming it a "brilliant new biography" without hesitating I went straight to amazon and pre ordered.I find Lucien totally captivating in every aspect from his work to the scarfs he always wore.I paid full whack admission price too.
First off the book is a slender,paltry 238 pages long NOT a massive doorstop job I was hoping for,you know the type of book Freud deserves.
This is very much a coffee table book,nice to look at,some nice photos.Is it worth parting twenty quid for?Hmmm....really this depends on your income or how frivolous you are financially.It is essentially the extracts that had appeared in The Daily Mail padded out.
What I did not know at the time was author Geordie Greig is the editor of The Mail On Sunday.....hmmmm thus the nice plug.
Breakfast With Lucian is most certainly not a "brilliant new biography".
The plaudits screaming from the cover from such luminaries as Tom Wolfe and V.S Naipaul left me stroking my chin in cynical bafflement.
Tom Wolfe;"A superb flawlessly crafted portrait....." Tom.Once again Greigs role as editor of Mail On Sunday brings about notions of an author and editor rubbing one another's back.
It goes without saying Lucian would've despised the book and I do question the motives of Greig.He seems a rather snobbish man to be honest,smugly proud of his son Jaspar talking precociously about Bacon when he's ten or something,but in that snide clever kid way.
What do you get?A bit of salacious gossip here and there.A few revealing interviews with some of the many children.Nothing major or to write home about.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tabloid Freud 22 Dec 2013
Geordie Grieg is the editor of the Mail on Sunday and this book shows its tabloid roots. Grieg seems to relish Freud's darker side without having much understanding of his art. Towards the end of the book he writes, "In trying to understand the complexity that is Lucian Freud, it is necessary to stay focused on his art. The pictures tell us who he slept with and spent time with." To Grieg, Freud's paintings do seem to count largely as a record of his sexual conquests and he rarely has anything more profound to say about them than they make people look uglier than they were. If you want a gossipy book on Freud that concentrates more on his selfishness, bad behaviour and gambling, then you'll enjoy Breakfast with Lucian. If you're more concerned with his art and his approach to the portrait in the 20th century, then I'd recommend Man With a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud by Martin Gayford - to me, a much more rewarding book than this rather tabloid approach.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone who is a Freud fan will like this 24 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There have been prissy little critical reviews of this wonderful book in the press, mostly by art critics who don't get a mention. For anyone who wishes to flesh out - the right word, flesh! - this is essential. Freud emerges from this book with new detail. He is unsurprisingly an extraordinary and highly individual character. There are many ghosts occupying a place at breakfast; but although people were central to his life we are given an opportunity to see his absolute dedication at work. And it is his work that shadows through this book, and it sent me back to the catalogues with renewed enquiry. A book that anyone who loves art will find illuminating. We are granted a partial understanding of genius.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really good ..
great reading
Published 7 days ago by STEFANO CALCAGNI
3.0 out of 5 stars good read
good read
Published 23 days ago by Luisa Ramazzotti
4.0 out of 5 stars Breakfast with lucian
I enjoyed reading about this man, what an unusual life he had. He of course was a selfish pig who treated everyone he knew with contempt and I feel ashamed of the women how... Read more
Published 3 months ago by AJ Hedges
5.0 out of 5 stars A very personal account
Another excellent book on Lucian Freud, this time a much more personal account of his life, friendships, personality and single-mindedness towards his Art and demand on his models. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Charmaine Boyle
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
The product was as described and arrived on date. I am adding my prescribed number of words just to get rid of this.
Published 4 months ago by J. C. Dowds
5.0 out of 5 stars There's something about great talent
and those who have it that makes them impossible to live with. They do not demand sacrifice; it does not occur to them that there is any choice in the matter. Read more
Published 5 months ago by monika
1.0 out of 5 stars not the best
preferred the one by martin gayford, the man in the blue scarf, this read rather like a snobby gossip column, the great man deserves better
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Not afreud of Lucien
But he certainly seems an extremely unpleasant person. This was also a gift for a great fan of his work. I like some of his work, but not all of it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by S. M. T. Peters
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a present
I cannot give a review of this book as I bought it as a present. I assume the reader will enjoy this book
Published 7 months ago by compuadd
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
I bought this for my partner who is an art buff. He said the book is really interesting and he enjoys reading it, which means alot as he is really fussy with what he reads!!!
Published 7 months ago by denise hopkins
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