Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud” as Want to Read:
Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

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

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  257 ratings  ·  36 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Man with a Blue Scarf, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Man with a Blue Scarf

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 533)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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.

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
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.
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
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.
Joseph Fontinha
This book was recently recommended to me by a fellow painter and it is the best book I have read in years. It is a very intimate portrait of a man making a portrait. Lots of insight on what makes a portrait, and a lot of subtle information about Freud's working habits.
Really wonderful insight to what it was like to be 'the sitter' of a portrait by Lucian Freud(1922-2011) and be transformed into a true work of art. The book is illustrated with many other of Freud's works
Vuk Trifkovic
Great idea, fantastic execution - it's a beautiful tome - but ultimately bit disappointing. Too much vapid namedropping, too little in-depth analysis...
Jonathan Lippincott
A portrait of the portraitist, as well as the sitter. What art writing should be -- smart, clear, and very entertaining.
Melissa Johnson
Love, love, loved it!
I read this book in two days...probably because I'm a painter. Lucian Freud is a very interesting character.
Alberto Arredondo estrada
Muy interesante leer acerca de un genio como Lucian Freud desde la perspectiva de uno de sus modelos.
Wonderfully candid reflection on the act of sitting for a portrait and observation of LF's creative process.
Thoroughly enjoyable--both the writing and illustrations. Surprisingly interesting topic!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Breakfast with Lucian: The Astounding Life and Outrageous Times of Britain's Great Modern Painter
  • A Giacometti Portrait
  • The Unknown Matisse, 1869-1908
  • Art and Culture: Critical Essays
  • Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life
  • Rembrandt's Eyes
  • 100 Artists' Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists
  • A Life of Picasso, Vol. 1: The Early Years, 1881-1906
  • Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter
  • Rendez-Vous with Art
  • Inside the Painter's Studio
  • Georgia O'Keeffe
  • Visual Thinking
  • Lee Krasner: A Biography
  • New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century
  • Things I Didn't Know
  • The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century
  • Renoir, My Father
The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney The Grove Book of Art Writing: Brilliant Words on Art from Pliny the Elder to Damien Hirst Michelangelo: His Epic Life Constable In Love: Love, Landscape, Money and the Making of a Great Painter

Share This Book

“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
“Great British painters, one might say, imitate the proverbial behaviour of buses. None come along for a century or more, then two at the same time. In the decades after 1800 there were J. M. W. Turner and John Constable, then none of international consequence, except perhaps Walter Sickert, until Bacon and Freud after the Second World War.” 0 likes
More quotes…