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Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud
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Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud

4.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  379 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Lucian Freud, perhaps the world's leading portrait painter, spent seven months painting a portrait of the art critic Martin Gayford. Gayford describes the process chronologically, from the day he arrived for the first sitting through to his meeting with the couple who bought the finished painting, and he vividly conveys what it is like to be on the inside of the process of ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 15th 2010 by Thames & Hudson (first published January 1st 2010)
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Dec 20, 2010 Tony rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, top-10-2011
The eyes appear first. Then the eyebrows. They tell us more than anything. The nose will grow organically. We may have to shrink the head a bit. Let's talk. Eat. And drink. Days. Hours. Minutes. Sometimes just staring. Not provocatively, as in a bar. But trying to see the layers, the dimensions. And transpose them. Months. A sitter and an artist.

Sitting is a pleasure, an ordeal, and also a worry.

This is a wonderful, gorgeous book. Gayford, an art critic, sits for a portrait by Lucian Freud, gran
Jan 18, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it
Lucian Freud is more popular than Oprah around our house, so it should have been no surprise that TWO copies of this book appeared under the tree on Christmas Eve. Since Zach opened his copy from Dad before he opened his copy from me, I handily snatched my gift back before boarding the plane home to D.C.

The insights and personality in this book are great. (And for the grandson of Sigmund, a man who dances till dawn with Kate Moss, paints the Queen, and hasn't talked to his brother since their f
May 31, 2013 Tracy rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, lucid, beautifully illustrated. This is a gem if you are interested in one of the two great painters of British Art in the Twentieth Century, although this memoir is written between 2003 and 2004. And if you are not, you will still find it illuminating and entertaining. The man who knew Picasso, Mondrian, his grandfather Sigmund, Frank Auerbach, and the new stars like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. Head and shoulders above any other text I have read on a contemporary artist.
Feb 19, 2013 J. rated it it was amazing
Martin Gayford art critic and friend of Lucian Freud one evening tentatively broaches the subject of perhaps sitting for a portrait and is surprised when he recieves an affirmative response. The result is wonderful. First of all the hardback edition is well presented with plenty of top quality illustrations of Freud's work. Also we get a mini biography of Freud, his early life is really interesting, he knew Ronnie Kray, Francis Bacon etc..

Lucian Freud hardly ever sleeps, spends hours on his feet
Jan 02, 2015 G-read rated it it was amazing
**** en een extra * voor de mooie vormgeving en foto's.
Mark Bennett
Gems throughout this marvelous look at the process of an artist, and the revealing and thought-provoking musings of the art critic and sitter for a portrait:

“A great deal of what is normally thought of as intelligence, he points out, is actually imagination—that is, an ability to see things as they are.”

“Physiologically, and psychologically, a living being is always in a state of flux. Moods shift, energy levels go up and down, the body itself slowly ages…. when you have the sort of temperament
Feb 11, 2011 Grady rated it it was amazing
A View of an Artist from the Model's Chair

Martin Gayford, the critic for Bloomberg News and Spectator, had the extraordinary opportunity to sit for one of today's most important portrait painters - Lucien Freud. MAN WITH A BLUE SCARF is a moment by moment and day by day conversation between these two important men, an opportunity to understand the mechanics of portrait painting like few other books have offered.

The book not only gives fascinating inside information as tot he artist/model relati
Oct 26, 2013 Britt rated it really liked it
Ik vond Man met blauwe sjaal echt een geweldig boek. Daarstraks in bed bedacht ik me hoe ik mij écht voelde bij het lezen van dit boek. Ik voelde me als de dieren (meestal honden) die Freud in combinatie met zijn menselijke onderwerpen schilderde: in een innige verstrengeling met het onderwerp - maar hier dan met de auteur (Martin Gayford) en met Lucian Freud (eigenlijk ook onderwerpen, maar dan van het boek). Ik heb Martin en Lucian tot op een vrij persoonlijke hoogte "leren kennen" zonder met ...more
Jul 07, 2013 Lynne rated it really liked it
I'm tickled to have this particular (used) book, which turned out to be signed by the author and came with a bookmark ribbon. The illustrations are plentiful and of high quality. This was recommended by watercolor portraitist, Ted Nuttall. Freud's method involves months of sittings and conversation and slow evolution of the portrait. This seems a more revealing approach than working from a photograph.
Jun 03, 2013 Phil rated it it was amazing
Remarkable insight into the personality and working methods of the greatest British painter of the past 50 years. Eminently readable, profound, humorous and enlightening: Gayford has a light, self-deprecating touch which in no way diminishes - in fact, rather strengthens - his intellectual credentials. And he was plainly very fond of his subject, both as an artist and a human being.
Apr 04, 2014 Vickie rated it really liked it
Martin Gayford - an art critic - sat for Lucien Freud seven months for a painting and later for an etching. This is no a biography, but reflections of the process Freud used and recollections of conversations they had about art. I understand Freud's paintings better now and have a much better appreciation of them.
Ethan Miller
Jun 03, 2014 Ethan Miller rated it it was amazing
A most excellent book! Fascinating and enjoyable at every line. Gayford manages to paint a picture of the great Lucian Freud's day to day life as LF paints one of him. Gayford's portrait, not unlike LF's, is a slightly abstract work made of blobs and smears that reveal refined and perceptive truths about it's subject. It turns out that to sit as model for one of histories greatest portrait painters (especially one that works on a single portrait with a sitter over months and even years) becomes ...more
Kathy Duffy
Read this for bookclub that deals with art related book. It started out slow for me but then I was drawn it. The author sits as a model for Lucian Freud the painter who is in his 80's at the time. The book describes Freud's painting technique, his philosophy, his opinions on other artists and various famous pieces of art as well as looking at the making of a portrait from the sitter's side of the canvas.
Martin Gayford is an journalist in the art world and he chronicles his thoughts, feelings, ho
Aug 17, 2015 Don rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Marin Gayford gets inside the mind of Jucian Freud as he sits for a portrait in this diary. Fascinating and highly eccentric. Wonderful candid photos of Freud in the studio.

"I always thought that an artist's was the hardest life of all. Its rigour - not always apparent to an outside observer - is that an artist has to navigate forward into the unknown guided only by an internal sense of direction, keep up a set of standards which are imposed entirely from within, meanwhile maintaining faith that
Jul 07, 2014 Lynne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-books
This is the kind of book that had the potential to be a tiny bit boring - not a lot happens - but it wasn't, at all. I think a lot of it had to do with the chatty blend of anecdotes/conversations/insights that Martin Gayford is so good at writing, and a lot of it was because Lucian Freud was an interesting man and a very good artist (whose style I didn't particularly like before I read this book but now appreciate much more). It was fascinating to watch the portrait of Martin Gayford emerge and ...more
Dec 14, 2014 Sharron rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how many first hand accounts exist around a sitters experience modeling for a Master class artist, but this one is exquisite! Being a huge fan of Freud and an artist, I relished every detail of the moments in the studio and the rich descriptions of his work space. Yes his early life, peculiar ways and celebrity status were interesting too, but for me, the real meat was reading about his technique and philosophy on art. I'll never get over the images of his rag filled studio!! Well w ...more
Johann Guenther
GAYFORD, Martin: „Mann mit blauem Schal. Ich saß für Lucian Freud. Ein Tagebuch“, Bern 2011
Der Kunsthistoriker Gayford wurde von Lucian Freud portraitiert und beschreibt die Monate des Modellsitzens in einem Tagebuch. So wird ein Künstler in einer anderen Form dargestellt.
Auch wenn Freud an mehreren Bildern gleichzeitig arbeitete, konzentrierte er sich auf das eine, an dem er gerade malte. Die anderen drehte er um und lehnte sie an die Wand, damit sie ihn nicht beeinflussten. Beim Portraitieren
This unusual book discusses the artist Lucian Freud from the point of view of the sitter. The author discusses the development of his portrait on the book cover both by observing the progress of the painting and from the comments of the artist himself. The book gives a remarkable insight into the work and life of a singular artist. Plenty of fine illustrations.
Taff Jones
Jan 22, 2016 Taff Jones rated it really liked it
I liked this one very much indeed. Great leisurely pace, marvellous tales about LF and his funny old life yet neither in fawning homage to the painter nor self aggrandising - I'll read more of this man's books.
This is a lovely book. It is a journal of Martin Gayford's sitting for Lucian Freud. They both deliver a portrait of the other at the end of the book. It is filled with gorgeous full color versions of many of the paintings discussed.
Simon Akam
I am currently sitting for a portrait for an artist friend. He lent me this book, which I found a fascinating take on the whole process...
Aagje Vos
May 09, 2016 Aagje Vos rated it it was amazing
Insightful, wish I had read the book before seeing Lucian Freud's work in the National Portrait Gallery in 2012.
Nov 16, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it
By sitting as a model for Lucian Freud, art critic Martin Gayford is given unprecedented access to the extremely private world of the artist. This resulting book gives us a look at the process of Freud’s work; a slow, yet intense process by which a mixture of instinct and control, eye and brain, doubt and constant correction create some of the masterpieces of modern British art.
Gayford is also funny and honest about what a model goes through; the excitement, the vanities, the discomfort and the
Graham Crawford
Oct 09, 2013 Graham Crawford rated it liked it
This one is a bit of a curiosity. It lacks the depth of a biography, and in some ways exemplifies the opposite of the craft of a good portrait painter in that it felt like it was a catalog of superficial observations (though not in a bad way!),or a perhaps record of a long diner conversation.

Some of this breeziness may come from the writer's career as a journalist - his observations record rather than analyse. An interesting description of the process of sitting for such a famous painter.

Jan 01, 2013 Bella rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, biografi
I am fairly new to Freud and his artistic output. This book provided a great way to get acquainted with both.
The book is centered around Gayford's 'daily' notes which he wrote throughout the process. So it's basically about his personal story on sitting for this portrait. But he also quotes full-lenght dialogues between him and Freud, retells Freud's anecdotes aso.

It's a depiction of Freud, his way of being and how art permeates his whole existence, seen through the eyes of Gayford.
Katie Weber
Mar 12, 2012 Katie Weber rated it liked it
Shelves: art
Martin Gayford does a phenomenal job at illustrating the artistic process from an outsider's/sitter's point of view. I found myself identifying more with Lucian Freud's artistic methodologies throughout the book, but I think both artists and non-artists can appreciate the peculiarities in his approach to painting. There's more to this volume than a simple collection of observations on the artistic process.
Jane Mosse
Nov 17, 2015 Jane Mosse rated it really liked it
A fascinating insight into both Freud the man and the artist seen from the perspective of the sitter. There are so many books about Freud but here Gayford shares the experience of being the subject, sharing both his intimate conversations and observations.
Jun 03, 2014 Shelley rated it really liked it
Shelves: excellent
excellent. and I don't even like Freud's paintings all that much. This is a book for reading small bits and big thinking if you are a painter. interesting view of process. yes is is wordy, and self-indulgent. Aren't we all?
Made me want to look deeply into the Warhol/Wyeth portrait process. I remember reading that from Andy's pov...
Ben Tye
Nov 02, 2012 Ben Tye rated it it was amazing
Read in one sitting, unlike the author. Wonderful insight into Lucien Freud and his place in the canon of artists and a warm engaging portrait of the man himself from the perspective of the sitter, an art critic and excellent writer. Buy the book for the plates, typesetting and paper.
Jan 05, 2016 Mark rated it it was amazing
A wonderful read. Full of insight into Freud's working methods and philosophy as well as lots of fun anecdotes about the extraordinary people he's known and/or painted. Also fascinating to read of the experience of literally being stared at for hours on end over almost 2years.
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Martin Gayford is an art critic and art historian. He studied philosophy at the University of Cambridge, and art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. Over three decades, he has written prolifically about art and music in a series of major biographies, as well as contributing regularly to newspapers, magazines and exhibition catalogues. In parallel with his career ...more
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“Time is his luxury, and he is prepared to spend any amount that is necessary to get a picture right, which is another paradox, since by nature LF is packed with nervous energy and still apt, for example, to dive into traffic and sprint down the road in pursuit of a taxi. ‘All my patience’, he notes, ‘has gone into my work, leaving none for my life.” 1 likes
“Being able to draw well’, he goes on, ‘is the hardest thing – far harder than painting, as one can easily see from the fact that there are so few great draughtsmen compared to the number of great painters – Ingres, Degas, just a few.” 0 likes
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