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Modernists and Mavericks: Bacon, Freud, Hockney and the London Painters Hardcover – 1 May 2018

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd; 1 edition (17 April 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500239770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500239773
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Boxed-product Weight: 998 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product description


Well-researched... a fascinating look at postwar London artists, filled with entertaining figures.

If you are interested in modern British art, the book is unputdownable. If you are not, read it. You soon will be.

Martin Gayford has been talking with artists for 30 years. He doesn't just nip into the studio with a notepad: he has a gift for sustaining conversations that unfold across decades... Other studies have debated the effects of state art funding and cold war cultural politics; this one brings us the expression of Leon Kossoff as he moves through heaven and hell with each brushstroke, Bridget Riley introducing the whisker of white that makes a black painting live, Gillian Ayres and Howard Hodgkin talking hour after hour in the car down to Bath School of Art.

[A] superb survey of British painting from 1945 to 1970, London... Gayford recounts the artists' lives and their travails with sympathy and understanding... [a] wonderfully accomplished book, full of anecdotes and aperçus.

Superb... Gayford deploys Bacon's voice to brilliant effect, and you hang on to every word... This is a book about community and influence; about the connections, sometimes powerfully strong and sometimes only thread-like, between artists of dizzying talent and wildly varying impulses.

Through interviews, anecdotes, and ample illustrations, Gayford brings to life London's art world... By focusing on the art, Gayford convinces readers that postwar-London artists were right: painting really can do marvelous things.

Absorbing and lavishly illustrated... encompasses art history and biography... But the main subject is painting itself, confounding and inspiring in 'its moral value and its sheer difficulty.

A masterpiece, a major work of modern art history... As [Martin Gayford] traces London's art scene from the 1940s to the 1970s, the configuration of friends and rivals he presents is as lucid as a family tree... filled with vivid anecdotes that might have otherwise disappeared into the Soho air.

A radical reassessment of the School of London canon... Engaging and erudite... Gayford offers a rethinking of his complex subject that is pluralistic and inclusive, nuanced in its examination of individual artists, and precisely attuned, from beginning to end, to today's critical issues.

"There's a wonderful sense of intimacy and an abundance of critical insights in Martin Gayford's vivid portrait of Britain's post-World War II modernist painters... Well-documented and elegantly written...Gayford covers terrain from the historical to the biographical, from the sociological to the psychological, from the stylistic to the technical."

About the Author

Martin Gayford is art critic for The Spectator. His books include Man with a Blue Scarf, A Bigger Message, and Rendez-vouz with Art (with Philippe de Montebello), and Modernists and Mavericks.

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