An Incomplete Bibliography of Print Articles

This is an incomplete and changing bibliography to allow people to locate print articles in archives. Please note, it does not include articles which have appeared only online. This list will be updated periodically.

*  =  notable article

2004    “Cause for Concern”, Printmaking Today, journal, vol. 13, no. 2, Summer 2004, London; June

2005    “The Painter-Printmaker is Not Allowed”, The Jackdaw, newsletter, no. 47, London; April

2006*  “Melancholy of the Modern”, The Jackdaw, no. 60, London; July/August

2006*  “The Art of Entropy”, The Jackdaw, no. 61, London; September

2006    letter (editing of Rothko’s writing), The Jackdaw, newsletter, no. 62, London; October

2006*  “The Fine Arts in Wales”, Cambria, magazine, vol. 8, no. 4, October–November, Carmarthen, Wales; October

2007    review, IQ, magazine, no. 5, Spring 2007, Bristol; February

2007    “Traces of Life”, The Jackdaw, no. 69, London; June

2007    “Masquerade: The Work of James Ensor”, The Jackdaw, no. 71, London; September

2007    “Lost in Bulgaria”, The Jackdaw, newsletter, no. 73, London; November

2008*  “Pre-emptive Censorship” (Hans Bellmer), The Jackdaw, no. 75, London; February

2008    “Piranesi”, Print Quarterly, journal, volume XXV number 1, London; March

2008    review, IQ, no.7, spring 2008, Bristol; March

2008    “Creepy Kinder”, Garageland, magazine, issue six, London; April

2008    “Trevor Allen, 1939-2008”, The Jackdaw, no. 78, London; May

2008    “Trevor Allen”, Printmaking Today, vol. 17, no. 2, Summer, London; June

2008    “Gustav Klimt: Painting, Design and Modern Life in Vienna 1900”, The Jackdaw, no. 80; July

2008    “The Artist’s Larder” (sketchbooks), The Jackdaw, no. 81; September

2008    “Solitary figures in a landscape” (Sean Henry), The Art Newspaper, London, Vol. XVII, no. 194; September

2008    “Issues in Curating Contemporary Art and Performance” IQ, Bristol; September

2008    “Size Matters” (monumental prints), The Art Newspaper, Vol. XVII, no. 195, London; October

2008    “Dark Marks” (Rothko), The Jackdaw, no. 82, London; November

2008    “Matthias Grünewald: Die Zeichnungen/Drawings/Dessins”, The Art Book, journal, volume 15 issue 4, London; November

2008    “Cabinet of Curiosities”, Printmaking Today, vol. 17, no. 4, London; December

2008    “The Monotype”, Printmaking Today, journal, vol. 17, no. 4, London; December

2009    “Giacometti the Egyptian”, The Jackdaw, no. 83, London; January

2009    “Lights, Canvas, Action!”, The Art Book, vol. 16, no. 1, London; February

2009    “After Kafka”, The Warwick Review, vol. III, no. 1, Warwick; March

2009*  “Lucian Freud, Accidental Mannerist”, The Jackdaw, no. 84, London; March

2009    interview with Ian Davenport, Printmaking Today, vol. 16, no. 1, London; March

2009    “Richard Serra: Druckgrafik/Prints/Estampes”, Printmaking Today, vol. 16, no. 1, London; March

2009    “Fade to Grisaille” (Rogier van der Weyden), The Jackdaw, no. 85, London; May

2009    “Francis Bacon” , The Art Book, vol.16, no. 2, London; May

2009    “Ad Reinhardt”, The Art Book, vol.16, no. 2, London; May

2009    “Kafka: The Office Writings”, The Warwick Review, vol. III, no. 2; June

2009    “Bouguereau of the Post-Modern” (Glenn Brown), The Jackdaw, no. 86, London; July

2009    “Berlin Diary” & “Cyril Power Linocuts”, Printmaking Today, vol. 18, no. 2, London; June

2009* “Surrealism in all its Weird Glory”, The Financial Times, (online edition), London; 9 July

2009    “Magritte. La Periode Vache”, The Art Book, vol. 16, no. 3, London; August

2009    “Stolen”, The Art Book, vol. 16, no. 3, London; August

2009    “Lost in Brussels” (Musée Magritte), The Jackdaw, no.87, London; September

2009    letter (glicée prints), The Jackdaw, no.87, London; September

2009    “The secular high priest of realist mystical painting” (Gerhard Richter), The Art Newspaper, vol. XVIII no. 205, London; September

2009    letters, Funds Europe, London; October

2009    “An artist who outlived himself?” (James Ensor), The Art Newspaper, vol. XVIII no. 207, London; November

2009    “The Polymorphous Perverse”, The Jackdaw, no. 88, London; November

2009    “Basil Beattie and Ian McKeever”, The Burlington Magazine, no. 1280 vol. CLI, London; November

2009*  “The Conjuror Concealed by his Assistants” (Gerhard Richter), The Art Newspaper, vol. XVIII no. 208, London; December

2010    “The Painter of Ideas”, The Jackdaw, no. 89, London; January

2010    interview with Ian McKeever, The Art Book, vol. 17, no. 1, London; February

2010    “Saint Gerhard” (Gerhard Richter), The Art Book, vol. 17, no. 1, London; February

2010    “Picasso Lithographs”, The Art Book, vol. 17, no. 1, London; February

2010*  “Whatever Happened to the Sutherland Bequest?”, The Jackdaw, no. 90; March

2010    “The Art of the Printmaker 1500-1860”, Printmaking Today, vol. 19 no. 1, Spring; April

2010    “Black Flame” (Arshile Gorky, Van Doesburg, Paul Nash), The Jackdaw, no. 91, May

2010    “Ingres Unveiled”, The Art Book, vol. 17 issue 2; May

2010    “Ian McKeever” (review), The Art Book, vol. 17 issue 2; May

2010    “The Prints of Anni Albers”, Printmaking Today, May 2010.

2010    “Sphinx: The Life and Art of Leonor Fini”, The Burlington Magazine, no. 1286 vol. CLII, May

2010    “Monumental Prints in the Age of Louis XIV”, The Art Newspaper, no. 214; June

2010    “Spread the word” (Varna Print Biennale), Printmaking Today, vol. 19 no. 2, Summer 2010, July

2010    “Christen Købke”, “Anthony Caro” & “Angela de la Cruz: Art Prostrate and Pitiful”, The Jackdaw, no. 92; May

2010    “Hans Bellmer and Louise Bourgeois”, The Burlington Magazine, London, no. 1288, vol. CLII; July

2010    “John Armstrong”, The Art Newspaper, no. 215, July/August 2010

2010    “An Avaricious Eye: Adolph Menzel” & statement, The Jackdaw, no. 93; September 2010  “Bridget Riley”, Printmaking Today, vol. 19 no. 3, Autumn; September

2010    “Paint and Ink: Artists’ Letters”, The Art Book, November

2010    “Anthony Caro”, The Art Book, November 2010

2010    “Vermeer: Early, Late and in Fractions”, The Jackdaw, no. 94; November

2010    “Larkin’s Letters to Monica”, The Warwick Review, vol. IV, no. 4; December

2010    “What Dreams May Come” (Paul Delvaux), Apollo, London; December

2010    “Josef Albers”, Printmaking Today; December

2010    “Senefelder Restored”, Printmaking Today; December

2010*  “The Belgian Blake” (Musées Wiertz and Meunier), The Jackdaw, no. 95; January

2011    letter (Tom Lubbock), The Independent, London; 11 January

2011*  “The new art critics should mind their language”, The Art Newspaper, no. 222; February

2011    “Tom Lubbock”, The Jackdaw, no. 96; March

2011* “Paul Delvaux, Radical Classicist”, The Jackdaw, no. 96; March

2011    “Tonalism”, The Art Newspaper, Vol. XX, no. 222; March

2011    “At heart, a graphic artist” (Max Beckmann), The Art Newspaper; Vol. XX, no. 223; April

2011    “The Sutherland Bequest”, The Jackdaw, no. 97; May

2011    “Jenny Saville and the Theatre of Self-Importance”, The Jackdaw, no. 97; May

2011    “Berlin Donation”, The Jackdaw, no. 97; May

2011*  “Why Printed Art Reviews Matter despite the Rise of the Internet”, Artwatch UK Journal, London; May

2011    “Postcard from Berlin”, Art of England, magazine, issue 82, Stafford; June

2011    “The Painter-Priest” (Malevich), The Art Newspaper; May

2011    “How Magritte Made Ends Meet”, The Art Newspaper, Vol. XX, no. 225; June

2011    “Konrad Witz”, The Art Newspaper, Vol. XX, no. 225; June

2011    “Art for Sale”, The Art Newspaper; Vol. XX, no. 225; June

2011    “The Relics of St Joan” (Miró), The Jackdaw, no. 98; July

2011    “The Public Catalogue Foundation”, The Jackdaw, no. 98; July

2011    “Dresden’s Print Story” (Dresdner Kupferstich-Kabinett), Printmaking Today; vol. 20, no. 2, Autumn; September

2011    “Lost in Liverpool” (Post-Impressionism and Magritte), The Jackdaw, no. 99; September

2011    “Norwegian and Swiss Landscape Paintings”, The Jackdaw, no. 99; September

2011    “Speaking for Vasari”, The Jackdaw, no. 99; September

2011    “Notable Belgians” (prints in Brussels), Printmaking Today, vol. 20, no. 4, Winter; December

2011    “Lost in New York” (De Kooning & Ingres), The Jackdaw, no. 100; December

2011    letter, The Jackdaw, no. 100; December

2011* “Lee Krasner”, The Art Newspaper, vol. XX, no. 230; December

2011    “Philip Guston”, The Art Newspaper, vol. XX, no. 230; December

2011    “Drawn to Line” (Picasso), Apollo, vol. CLXXIV, no. 593; December

2012    “A Living Art” (Johann Zoffany), The Jackdaw, no. 101; January

2012    “Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art”, The Jackdaw, no. 101; January

2012* “The Richters Richter Didn’t Want You to See”, The Art Newspaper, vol. XX no. 231; January

2012    “Collecting Artist’s Prints”, The Art Investor, no. 1, London; February

2012    “Rebel on the Margins” (Edward Burra), The Art Newspaper, vol. XX no. 232; February

2012    “David Jones”, British Art Journal, London, vol. XII, no. 3; February

2012* “David Lynch: Lithos”, Print Quarterly, vol. XXIX no. 1; March

2012    “Ronald S Lauder Collection, Neue Galerie, New York”, The Jackdaw, no. 102; March

2012    “A Disciplined Diet of Colour” (Josef Albers), Apollo; April

2012    “Lost in Paris” (Musées Bourdelle, Maillol and Rodin), The Jackdaw, no. 103; May

2012    letter (British abstract painting at the Tate Gallery), The Jackdaw, no. 103; May

2012    “Genius Redefined” (Van Gogh), Apollo, vol. CLXXV, no. 598; May

2012    “Musée Gravelines”, Printmaking Today, Summer, Vol. 21, No. 2; June

2012    “Lost in Vienna” (Klimt, Schiele), The Jackdaw, no. 104; July

2012    “Sheer Sensuality” (Klimt), Apollo, vol. CLXXVI, no. 600; July

2012    “The Invention of Colour” (Heinrich Kuehn), The Art Newspaper, vol. XXI, no. 238; September

2012    “A Million on Paper” (Dali fake prints & Arp), The Jackdaw, no. 105; September

2012    “More Misses than Hits” (Sam Francis), The Art Newspaper, vol. XXII, no. 239; October

2012    “Earlier British Paintings at the Walker Art Gallery”, British Art Journal, vol. XIII, no. 2, Autumn 2012; October

2012    letter (vandalism of Rothko painting), The Independent, 11 October 2012

2012    “Malevich Restorations Questioned”, ArtWatch UK Journal, Winter, No. 28; December

2012* “Kitaj Redux”, The Jackdaw, no. 106; November

2012    “Deaccessioning in the USA”, The Jackdaw, no. 106; November

2012    “Towards Realism” (Van Eyck), Apollo, Vol. CLXXVI, No. 604; December

2012    “Practical Advice for Artists: Part 1”, Artists & Illustrators, magazine, London, no. 230; December

2012    “Meandering Journey” (F.E. McWilliam), The Art Newspaper, vol. XXII, no. 241; December

2012    “Beth Van Hoesen”, Printmaking Today, Winter, Vol. 21 No. 4; December

2013    “The Whole Dali”, Apollo, Vol. CLXXVI, No. 606; February

2013    “Practical Advice for Artists: Part 2”, Artists & Illustrators, no. 231; January

2013    “The Third Man” (Raphael), The Jackdaw, no. 107; January

2013    “Keith Vaughan”, The Jackdaw, no. 107; January

2013    “Practical Advice for Artists: Part 3”, Artists & Illustrators, no. 232; February

2013    “Vasari’s fingerprints on art”, The Art Newspaper, vol. XXII no. 243; February

2013    (recent intaglio printmaking), Printmaking Today, Spring issue; March

2013    Paul Cézanne, The Jackdaw, no. 108; March

2013    “Flame and Flower” (Delacroix), The Jackdaw, no. 108; March

2013*  “All Smoke and Mirrors?” (Attribution and Value), The Art Newspaper, vol. XXII, no. 244; March

2013    “Realism and Beyond” (Prunella Clough), The Art Newspaper; vol. XXII, no. 244; March

2013    “The Irresistible Lure of the Human Figure” (Atul Vohora), The Art Newspaper, vol. XXII, no. 244; March

2013    Anya Gallaccio, British Art Journal, vo. XIII no. 3, Winter 2012/2013; April

2013* “Athletic Congress…in Belgium” (Musée Rops and erotic art), The Jackdaw, no. 109; May

2013    letter (Rothko vandalism), The Jackdaw, no. 109; May

2013    “Van Gogh Rejuvenated”, Apollo, ; June

2013    watercolour sketchbooks, Artists & Illustrators, issue 328; July

2013    Gerhard Richter, The Art Newspaper, New York & Hong Kong Art Basel editions; July

2013    “Lost in Amsterdam” (Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum), The Jackdaw, no. 110; July

2013    “Van Gogh Analysed”, The Jackdaw, no. 110; July

2013    Titian, The Jackdaw, no. 110; July

2013    Yale Center for British Art, Printmaking Today, Summer issue

2013    “Great Scott” (William Scott), The Art Newspaper, Vol. XXIII, no. 250; October

2013    Robert Motherwell, The Art Newspaper, November

2013    Luc Tuymans, Print Quarterly, vol. XXX, no. 4

2013    Giorgio Morandi and Patrick Caulfield, The Jackdaw, no. 111; September

2013    “Lost in Denmark”, The Jackdaw, no. 112; November

2013    “Minister for Disturbance” (Asger Jorn), The Jackdaw, no. 112; November

2013    Basil Beattie, British Art Journal, vol. XIV no. 2, Autumn issue; November

2014    Paul Klee, The Jackdaw, no. 113; January

2014    “Painted photographs and evolutionary Richter” (Gerhard Richter and Photorealism), The Art Newspaper, vol. XXIII no. 253; January

2014    Günther Förg, The Art Newspaper, vol. XXIII no. 253; January

2014    Brian Rice (prints), Printmaking Today, Spring issue; March

2014    Giorgio de Chirico, The Jackdaw, no. 114; March

2014    Basil Beattie, The Jackdaw, no. 114; March

2014    Brian Rice (paintings), The Jackdaw, no. 114; March

2014*  “Censoring Balthus was Shameful” (pre-emptive censorship), The Art Newspaper, ; March

2014    Brian Horton, The Art Newspaper; ; March

2014    Letters of William S. Burroughs, Beatscene; March

2014    “When Diversity is a Disguise of Conformity”, The Art Newspaper, Hong Kong Art Fair edition; May

2014    letter, The Jackdaw, no. 115; May

2014    “Zurbarán: Art and Morality”, The Jackdaw, no. 115; May

2014    Andreas Schlueter, Apollo, ; May

2014    “Against Exceptionalism”, The Jackdaw, no. 116; July

2014    “Love on an Iron Cross” (Marsden Hartley), The Jackdaw, no. 116; July

2014    “Museums in Brussels”, The Jackdaw, no. 116; July

2014    Paul Delvaux, Apollo, ; July

2014    Giorgio de Chirico, The Art Newspaper, ; September

2014    “Flesh Crystallised in Stone” (Carpeaux), The Jackdaw, no. 117; September

2014    Richard Wilson, The Jackdaw, no. 117; September

2014    “Lost in Hamburg” (Max Beckmann), The Jackdaw, no. 118; November

2014    “Struggle Over de Chirico’s Difficult Legacy”, The Jackdaw, no. 118; November

2014    “Renoir in Switzerland”, The Jackdaw, no. 118; November

2014    letter, The Jackdaw, no. 118; November

2014    Constant Meunier, Burlington Magazine, ; November

2014*  “Balthus: Art and Morality”, The Art Newspaper, ;

2014* “Conservation in the Age of Conceptual Art”, ArtWatch UK Journal, ;

2014    Matisse cut-outs, The Art Newspaper, ;

2014    Paul Nash, British Art Journal, ;

2014    Hans Purrmann, The Art Newspaper, ;

2014    Lynn Chadwick, British Art Journal, ;

2014    Alan Reynolds, British Art Journal, ;

2014    Darren Almond, The British Art Journal; December

2015    “Muscle Memory” (Egon Schiele), The Jackdaw, no. 119; January

2015    JCC Dahl and CD Friedrich, The Jackdaw, no. 119; January

2015    “All Flesh is Grass” (Rubens, Paul Delvaux and Berlinde de Bruyckere), The Jackdaw, no. 119; January

2015    “Complex talent needs greater understanding” (Asger Jorn), The Art Newspaper, ; April

2015    James Ensor and Pieter Bruegel, The Jackdaw, no. 121; May

2015    “Our God is Light” (Pierre Bonnard), The Jackdaw, no. 121; May

2015*  “Islamism and the Arts”, The Jackdaw, no. 121; May

2015    “Moreau, the mystic of Montmartre”, The Art Newspaper, vol. XXIV no. 268; May

2015    “The art of the teacher” (Hans Hofmann), The Art Newspaper, vol. XXIV no. 269; June

2015    Terry Winters, Printmaking Today, vol. 24, no. 2; summer

2015    Ian Davenport interview, Printmaking Today, vol. 24, no. 2; summer

2015    “The Naked and the Dead” (Francis Bacon), The Jackdaw, no. 122; July

2015    Julian Barnes, The Jackdaw, no. 122; July

2015    “Portrait of the jeering artist as a young gent” (Francis Picabia), The Art Newspaper, Vol. XXIV, no. 270; July

2015    James Turrell, Print Quarterly, vol. XXXII, no. 3; September

2015    Leeds Art School, British Art Journal, ;

2015    “Out of the Web” (Jackson Pollock), The Jackdaw, no. 123; September

2015    Max Beckmann, The Jackdaw, no. 123; September

2015    “Prud’hon’s Drawing Technique”, The Jackdaw, no. 123; September

2015    Graham Sutherland, British Art Journal, ; September

2015    Philip Guston prints, Printmaking Today, Vol. 24, No. 3, Autumn 2015; September

2015    “Pollock Restored, Re-restored”, ArtWatch UK Journal, ; November

2015    Gerhard Richter, The Art Newspaper, ;

2015    letter, The Independent, October/November

2015    Silverpoints, The Jackdaw, no. 124; November

2015    “Lost in Eindhoven”, The Jackdaw, no. 124; November

2015    Munch : Van Gogh, Burlington Magazine, ; December

2015    Städel Museum prints, Printmaking Today, ; December

2016    “A Human and Fluctuating Core” (Alberto Giacometti), The Jackdaw, no. 125; January

2016    “Nervia/École de Saint-Martin-Laethem”, The Jackdaw, no. 125; January

2016    “Karel Appel and Jean Dubuffet”, The Jackdaw, no. 125; January

2016    “Francis Bacon Late Paintings”, British Art Journal, vol. XVI, no. 3, winter 2015/6; January

2016    David Inshaw, British Art Journal, vol. XVI, no. 3, winter 2015/6; January

2016    Frank Auerbach, British Art Journal, vol. XVI, no. 3, winter 2015/6; January

2016    Liotard and pastel art, The Art Newspaper, ; January

2016    Dictionary of Artists in Wales, The Art Newspaper, ; March

2016    “Brimstone and Birches” (Eugene Delacroix & Nikolai Astrup), The Jackdaw, no. 126; March

2016    René Magritte, The Jackdaw, no. 126; March.

2016    letter, The Jackdaw, no. 126; March.

2016    Aubrey Beardsley, The Art Newspaper, ; May

2016    “Earthly Delights” (Bosch), The Jackdaw, no. 127; May

2016    Lord Frederic Leighton, British Art Journal, Summer; June

2016    “All Together Now” (Francis Bacon catalogue raisonné), The Art Newspaper, ; July

2016    Edgar Degas monotypes, Burlington Magazine; July

2016    Philip Guston, The Jackdaw, no. 128; July

2016    “The Visitors’ Book”, The Jackdaw, no. 128; July

2016    “Lost in Philadelphia”, The Jackdaw, no. 128; July

2016    Eva Hesse diaries, The Art Newspaper, ; September

2016    New York Public Library print collection, Printmaking Today, Vol. 25 no. 3, Autumn; September

2016    Peter Lanyon, British Art Journal, Vol. XVII no. 2, Autumn; October

2016    Ivon Hitchens, British Art Journal, Vol. XVII no. 2, Autumn; October

2016    Stanley Spencer, British Art Journal, Vol. XVII no. 2, Autumn; October

2016    Lucian Freud’s Sketchbooks, British Art Journal, Vol. XVII no. 2, Autumn; October

2016    R.B. Kitaj prints, Print Quarterly, date t.b.a.

2016    Andrea Büttner, Print Quarterly, date t.b.a.

2016    Francis Picabia, The Jackdaw, no. 129; September

2016    Carlo Carrà, The Jackdaw, no. 129; September

2016    “Brief Parnassus” (Abstract Expressionism), The Jackdaw, no. 130; November

2016    “Lost in France”, The Jackdaw, no. 130; November

2016    Tom Hammick, Print Quarterly, date t.b.a.

2016    René Magritte, Burlington Magazine, date t.b.a.

2016*  Francis Bacon, British Art Journal, date t.b.a.

2016    Kenneth Armitage, British Art Journal, date t.b.a.

2016    Victor Pasmore, British Art Journal, date t.b.a.

2016    Georg Baselitz woodcuts, The Art Newspaper, date t.b.a.

2016    Roland Penrose, The Art Newspaper, date t.b.a.

2016    Richard Diebenkorn, The Art Newspaper, ; December

2016    “Daubigny Reappraised”, The Jackdaw, no. 131; December

2016    Picasso Portraits, The Jackdaw, no. 131; December

2017    Francis Picabia, The Art Newspaper, date t.b.a.

2017    Frederic Leighton House Museum, The Jackdaw, no. 132; March

2017    Gerhard Richter catalogue raisonné, The Art Newspaper, date t.b.a.

2017    Edward Ardizzone, Burlington Magazine, date t.b.a.

2017    Gerhard Richter overpainted photographs, The Art Newspaper, date t.b.a.

2017    [undisclosed], Print Quarterly, date t.b.a.

2017    [undisclosed], ArtWatch UK Journal, date t.b.a.

2017    [undisclosed], British Art Journal, date t.b.a.

2017    [undisclosed], The Art Newspaper, date t.b.a.

2017    [undisclosed], The Jackdaw, date t.b.a.

 

Articles for every issue of The Jackdaw (bi-monthly) and frequent book reviews for Spiked Online website.

Lucian Freud, Accidental Mannerist

There are times when circumstances prevent an accurate view of living artists. Mostly this is due to the necessity of allowing time to elapse between creation of art and its assessment. Sometimes it is to do with the critical atmosphere of a period or an artist engineering a false impression of his work. Critics’ ranking games can turn artists into figureheads or sticks with which to beat bogeymen. It is a rare writer on art who does not have a favourite living artist.

If an artist is well known enough the cult of personality can almost occlude the art. A peculiarity of the received truths about Lucian Freud is that most are untrue (or at least no longer true). “He is a recluse.” Never has a recluse been so often spotted at expensive restaurants, night clubs and exclusive art events. For someone so private we are remarkably well supplied with anecdotes about his life and opinions. “He rarely grants interviews,” yet you will find a number of books and magazines including interviews. His one-hour televised interview recorded in the late 1980s seems to have been overlooked. He “remains aloof from the art market” yet he exhibits internationally with commercial art dealers. He co-operates with curators and uses his old-master status to take full advantage of opportunities open to few other painters (exhibiting in the Wallace Collection, for example). Few artists would refuse these temptations and Freud is no different. “He is rarely photographed.” This last was actually true up to the 1970s but since then whole coffee-table books of photographs of the artist in his studio have been published.

The most pervasive myth is that Freud is a realist and that his realism that has been becoming progressively more acute. The early paintings employed a naïve style (enlarged eyes and oversize heads) which was soon replaced a more straightforward approach. At this time Freud was most engaged with realism. It was only a brief interlude. In the early 1960s new traits emerged: elongated figures and floorboards zooming away in one-point perspective. The painter began to emphasise the high viewpoint from the late 1960s. (These tendencies became stomach-sinking features of many student entries for the BP Portrait Award, demonstrating how Freud has been taken as a model for aspiring realists.) There was a phase in the 1980s when the paint surface became clotted and granular, which we were told was a by-product of Freud’s perfectionism and extended periods of reworking. Why then did this vanish within ten years? Did Freud solve a problem, drop a mannerism or find an effect counterproductive? The enlarged feet, attenuated limbs and undersize heads of subjects have persisted for years and undermine otherwise persuasive depictions. His mannerisms have ossified into the Freud Style.

Distortions do not detract from Degas’s art; they reintroduce us to the human form in a startling way. With Freud’s art one gets a feeling these are unintended deficiencies he finds uncorrectable. Degas wanted the artificial and to add an accent of nature to it. Freud starts from life and finds his paintings deviating, becoming wayward beneath his brush. In itself this is a curious phenomenon; it does not accord with the view of the painter as a realist. Freud’s deviations seem unintentional; they are certainly distracting. To admire Freud for an attribute, pitiless realism, he does not possess diminishes his actual achievements. Is Freud being cast as a realist only in order to be used by writers to disparage other artists? The painter now less of a realist than he was in 1955.

None of these falsehoods are entirely the painter’s fault. However, he does exert a high degree of influence over the critics close to him and is responsible for engineering an “authorised version”. Every artist has this right and some exercise it more than Freud. However, it should not go unchallenged.

For years he did not reveal the identities of his sitters. Now they are frequently named in titles. Many sitters are famous. When it comes to celebrity, Freud has more in common with Warhol than Vermeer, which is not a criticism, just something that goes unremarked upon too often by critics who think of him as a modern Velázquez. The irony is that far from being a Velázquez, Freud is a court painter the way Picasso was – painting subjects at his own court.

One distinctive feature is Freud’s enduring trouble with composition. Often paintings are started only for the painter to have the canvas extended in order for him to compensate for his initial mistake. For an artist who actually sketches his work in charcoal on the canvas before he starts, these lapses are startling. Degas was a predecessor who extended grounds after starting work. If one studies Degas’s pastels it becomes apparent that the majority of these extensions are to expand the space around figures, allowing more air into the pictures, not to accommodate central motifs. In Freud’s case it is almost invariably because substantial parts of subjects are lopped off by the support edge. It is reasonable to argue that repositioning the ground around a motif is equivalent to moving that motif on the ground. What that does not do is explain why a painter might be having such serious and persistent problems tackling relatively simple compositions. That major alterations to his canvases are treated by his advocates as merely anecdotal asides rather than diagnosed as the symptom of an underlying problem tells us all we need to know about the standards Freud’s art is held to. Numerous sheets where he has drawn in pastel over etchings, extending a forehead cropped by a plate edge, are exercises in compensation compared to Degas’s nuancing of monotypes with pastel.

An artist who had studied figure painting in a conventional manner might be less prone to these tendencies – or would at least work harder to curb them. Freud studied only briefly at Goldsmiths College and Central School (sources differ on this) and was greatly influenced by his teacher at East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham, Cedric Morris (1889-1982). Morris was a self-taught naïve artist. There is little to distinguish between Freud’s approach in his earliest paintings and Morris’s own. The naïve style allows an artist at the very beginning of his career to make finished works of art, circumventing the trial and error that characterises the usual trajectory of a student striving for naturalism. The naïve approach prioritises making complete statements. It cloaks deficiencies of a practitioner. That is not what the naïve style is for but what it effectively does. Facilitated by his ability to produce finished pictures before his apprenticeship was over, Freud had an attentive and appreciative public from his teenage years, lauded by distinguished mentors (Francis Bacon, Herbert Read, Stephen Spender and Christian Bérard). While his peers were formulating their languages, Freud was feted and selling work.

This is not to denigrate Freud’s accomplishments. He is a dedicated artist. He is, considering the prolonged gestations of his pictures, a prolific artist. He created some of the best figure paintings of the second half of the Twentieth Century, admittedly a thin field. His Reflection (Self-portrait) (1985) is one of the best of all self-portraits of any century. It is unsparing, full of presence and power, painted with energy and economy. Had he been in competition with a really talented and committed realist he would likely have painted many more comparable pictures. Stamina is in itself admirable but greatness rests on more than one outstanding trait.

The prerequisite for being a great artist is more than painting some good paintings (and the occasional wonderful one). It demands consistency. He is a hit-and-miss artist partly because he has never been subjected to the competition and companionship of a cohort of talented realists. A number of works should never have left the studio. Balthus, with all his limitations, painted only when he had something to paint and never let a bad work out of his studio. Balthus was a model of integrity and discipline. Consider Vermeer, who is in part highly regarded because, in his less than 40 extant paintings, he hardly ever put a foot wrong. He had a magical combination of brilliance and originality allied to a consistency which is absent only in his pre-mature works and wavered in only a handful of late paintings. Whether this high standard in surviving work was due to Vermeer’s slow rate of production or to depredation (or a touch of both) we cannot now tell.

Freud’s late self-portraits (Self-portrait: Reflection (2002) and The Painter Surprised by a Naked Admirer (2004-5)) are painfully poor. The modelling is deficient and the physiognomy wayward. In one of his stronger paintings, Lying by the Rags (1989-90), Freud captures well the model’s weight pushing out the backs of her thighs. Observation and recording are in confluence. It is a wonderfully well-judged work, vivid and visually engaging. In the late self-portraits that sense of volume and weight has gone. However, this is not to imply Freud is worsening; he is as erratic as he has always been. In that respect alone he is consistent. The point is that only the most peculiar of artists could be capable of the 1985 self-portrait and have considered the later paintings adequate. Could none of his acquaintances criticise the canvases whilst they were in the studio? Freud is a poor editor of his own work and no dealer or curator has the stature or courage to do the editing for him. Why does he make so much of his variable output public?

The painter, for all his talk about “not wanting to repeat himself” compositionally, seems incapable of not perpetuating his errors and mannerisms. Quite beyond the contingent problems of the picture at hand, the best painters seek to correct themselves. Freud’s early success as a naïve artist may have suggested to him that he need not be subject to the same constraints and apprenticeship most painters are. His painting has changed but not evolved.

Though an artist cannot be blamed for the distortions of his advocates, he must be held accountable for his own shortcomings. If proponents of Freud’s art suggest he is an upholder of figurative standards stretching back to Rubens (whatever that means), why has his art not been subjected to comparable scrutiny? It could be because realism has a somewhat degraded status today and that painting from life is now an activity marginal to most practising artists. There are plenty of reasons not to tackle life painting, that anachronistic spur that juts so awkwardly from the main body of contemporary art. It is much easier for critics to discuss issues related to Conceptual and video art than it is to analyse the art. Has it been tacitly accepted that Freud is a realist mainly because there are no realists of stature working today who would show him to be the Mannerist he is? Has this blind spot developed because of a dearth of astute criticism on Freud?

Freud is not in the mould of a Sixteenth-Century Mannerist, who distorts knowingly and systematically to highlight the artificiality of practise and to oppose the restraint and order of Classicism, but is an artist unwittingly at the mercy of his technical deficiencies, which distort his attempt to paint realistically. He is closer to Alberto Giacometti than to Parmigianino, and should be looked at not next to Rubens and Watteau but Stanley Spencer, Marlene Dumas, Odd Nerdrum and Jean Rustin. Then we might be able to see what Freud does and not what his proponents claim he does.

Written December 2008, published in THE JACKDAW, March 2009

Gerhard Richter, various books

“Saint Gerhard

“The prerequisites for sainthood are association with two miracles and being dead. German artist Gerhard Richter (b1932, Dresden) is far from dead; he is the world’s most feted living artist, still prolific and innovating. He is credited with the secular miracle of giving painting continued intellectual credibility in the postmodern age. No living artist is more highly valued or venerated.

“Richter is known principally for three groups of work, all postdating his 1961 departure from the GDR: since 1962, paintings of photographs (subject to blurring); grids of colour swatches based on domestic-paint charts; and, after 1987, abstract paintings generated by layering paint using flat-bladed wipers. His classic photo paintings have achieved a degree of acclaim not accorded those by photorealists. Although a painter, his work has been considered conceptual in attitude. His 48 Portraits (1971–2) were painted from encyclopaedia portrait photographs, and he then exhibited photographs of his paintings. He is also seen as an upholder of the figurative tradition. Richter is a contemporary history painter, although he is uncomfortable being so cast…”

Read the full review originally in THE ART BOOK, 19 January 2010 here:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8357.2010.01070.x/full

Gustave Moreau

“”Moreau’s diverse and often paradoxical oeuvre lies at the crossroads of apparently contradictory trends in 19th-century art”, Peter Cooke observes at the end of his monographic study of Gustave Moreau (1826-98). Often described as a proto-Symbolist—and less often as a history painter—Moreau has proved hard to classify. The best of his elaborate biblical and mythological tableaux are hauntingly memorable but they are difficult to decode. Gustave Moreau: History Painting, Spirituality and Symbolism succeeds in illuminating a very peculiar and compelling figure on the margins of French art.

“Moreau’s classic oil compositions feature figures in isolated areas of light surrounded by large areas dark enlivened with coloured highlights, bestowing these grottoes and throne rooms with a bejewelled appearance. The expressions of the characters are restrained and their gestures anti-naturalistic and hieratic. Intricate decoration covers garments and architecture, causing paintings to exude a pseudo-organic quality.

“By the end of the Second Empire salon history painting had sometimes become an exercise in sensationalism, titillating with visions of gratuitous horror and nudity. It is difficult not to see Moreau as—to some degree—wilfully martyring himself by adhering to the history-painting tradition which he suspected was moribund…”

Read the full review at THE ART NEWSPAPER, 1 May 2015 here:

http://www.theartnewspaper.com/comment/reviews/books/155001/

Hans Hofmann: catalogue raisonne

“Biographies of almost any first- or second-generation Abstract Expressionist artist almost always mention Hans Hofmann. Teaching at his own school in New York City and Provincetown during the 1930s to 1950s, Hofmann influenced a generation of artists, including Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell, as well as dozens of other significant painters. Hofmann (along with Josef Albers) was one of the most important teachers of abstract art in the US. His ideas provided an intellectual and aesthetic foundation for the rise of abstraction in mid-century America. Until now his own art has been accorded a patchy reception, which Hans Hofmann: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings is likely only partially to remedy.

“Hans Hofmann grew up in Bavaria before working in an office in Munich and studying art part-time. In 1905 he moved to Paris and came into contact with the avant-garde of the École de Paris, exhibiting infrequently and receiving little attention. At the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, Hofmann and his future wife Miz were caught in Germany and consequently lost all his Paris paintings…”

Read the full review here at THE ART NEWSPAPER, 2 June 2015:

http://www.theartnewspaper.com/comment/reviews/books/156121/

Interview with Ian McKeever, 2010

“Ian McKeever RA (born 1946) is one Britain’s foremost painters. His abstract paintings, often derived from observation of the natural world near his home in Dorset or prompted by journeys to destinations as far away as Siberia, Greenland and New Guinea, have been exhibited worldwide. A new monograph by Lund Humphries comprehensively surveys his paintings for the first time. The artist talked to Alexander Adams about his work and the book.

“Alexander Adams: So often I see in your ‘abstract’ art echoes of the natural world. Your references to nature open up avenues of association rather than close them down.

“Ian McKeever: I do draw strongly on the natural world around me, increasingly, especially, the world immediately around me, those things which encroach not only into my physical world, but also psychologically and emotionally speaking. What I sense as the gap between the sensations of oneself as being distinct from the rest of the world around one is perhaps increasingly the content of the work. Of course one cannot paint an ‘abstract’ painting and not have a strong sense of subject matter, without its lapsing into formalism, which as such does not interest me…”

Read the full interview originally in THE ART BOOK, February 2010 here:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8357.2010.01075.x/full

Lost in New York

“New York City, home to great collections of art, is never short of key works by important artists to measure against one another. Autumn 2011, three displays have coincided to allow people to compare the skills of a modern master with those of a predecessor who influenced him. Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) revered J.A.D. Ingres (1780-1867) for both his devotion to the human figure and technical skill (in drawing especially). De Kooning vowed he would never paint a tree and his art never strayed too far from the portrait or nude, even at its most abstracted. Likewise, Ingres never manifested much interest in landscape and still-life either. Both painters were noted by peers as being consummate painters of flesh, principally female.

“MoMA claim that De Kooning: A Retrospective (until 9 January) is the “first major museum exhibition devoted to the full scope of the career of Willem de Kooning”. As the current survey includes work from 1983-7 not included in a much larger 1983 retrospective shown in Berlin and New York (the current show has 195 works, the earlier one had 280) the press release is technically accurate while being a touch grandiloquent.

“Filling the sixth floor of the new MoMA building for the first time, the retrospective provides some surprises and confirms some expectations…”

Read the full review at THE JACKDAW, November 2011 here:

http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/?p=83

Rene Magritte, Post-Impressionism: Liverpool, 2011

“The effects of Liverpool’s time as City of Culture in 2008 are still becoming apparent as various building projects reach completion. Liverpool has many excellent museums, to which number the Museum of Liverpool is due to be added. My visit to Liverpool was before the museum’s opening on July 19th, so I made do with two significant shows which will run until the autumn: a survey of Magritte and a partial reconstruction of a pioneering exhibition of Post-Impressionist art held at the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool in 1911. (The Bluecoat Gallery itself has recently been refurbished. The excellent diverse bookshop and the well-stocked art-materials store have both left and the gallery, which occasionally hosted worthwhile shows, now runs an exhibition programme of the driest and least engaging type. What was once a hub of artistic activity has been reduced to a deracinated husk. Best to bypass it entirely and visit the newly relocated Probe Records next door instead.)

“The 1910-11 display “Manet and the Post-Impressionists” at the Grafton Gallery, London is a celebrated landmark in British Modernism. What is less well-known is that the show (minus the Manets) travelled to Liverpool before the pictures were dispersed. Art in Revolution: Liverpool 1911 (Walker Art Gallery, closes September 25th) is an investigation of the second display, which included local Liverpool artists alongside the French painters. The French artists included Denis, Derain, Matisse, Picasso, Serusier, Signac, Vlaminck and others…”

Read the full review on THE JACKDAW, September 2011 here:

http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/?p=81

Joan Miro: Brussels, 2011

“How often have we seen – of late – exhibitions of Modern masters with didactic subtitles? These subtitles tell us why we should visit this exhibition when we have seen so many on this particular artist before. It is the subtitle that gives us the curatorial slant. What happens is not that famous artists get “played out” but that curators and curatorial imperatives get played out. Museum directors and curators naturally want to show great artists but, unless inaccessible art is made available, there are really only two routes for monograph retrospectives: greatest hits or the hidden side of X. Recently we have seen a spate of the second approach; witness Picasso the Communist, Picasso the Surrealist, Picasso the erotic artist.

“Two exhibitions of Joan Miró (1893-1983) in London and Brussels this summer take different approaches. The London display is subtitled “The Ladder of Escape” and aims to revise our view of the artist, while the Brussels display, one on a much smaller scale, is subtitled “Peintre Poète” and presents a more conventional view of the painter. The Brussels exhibition conceives of the artist as lyrical, straining to escape the boundaries of conventional restrictions and mores, whereas the London one purports to uncover an overlooked political dimension to Miró’s art. I visited the Brussels display in person but I am assessing the London one from the catalogue…”

Read the full review at THE JACKDAW, June 2011 here:

http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/?p=78

Jenny Saville & the Theatre of Self-Importance

“Most YBAs achieved prominence by recasting genuine avant-garde art in a palatable commercial form, influenced by advertising and pop culture, and served up to a credulous public largely ignorant of the original sources of the art. (Something Julian Stallabrass discusses in his book High Art Lite.) Jenny Saville was seen as one exception by virtue of the facts she studied in Glasgow, not Goldsmith’s College, and painted figures representationally in a non-ironic manner. Yet on closer study, Saville is not dissimilar to her YBA peers. Since paintings were acquired from her college studio,  Saville’s paintings have changed from billboard Lucian Freuds to hybrids of Freud, Bacon and de Kooning. Her painting rests upon adapting recent art and presenting it in a more extreme form (larger than that by the original artists), shorn of the original art’s foundations and complex origins, just as the art of other YBAs does.

“The paintings have been described as “monumental” by writers who cannot differentiate between monumental and big. Likewise, painting something from a very close viewpoint (a Saville tic) does not convey monumentality or help us comprehend the mass of a figure.  Monumentality has nothing to do with size; it has do with the impression of size, which can be conveyed through adjusting the size of a motif relative to the picture surface, elimination of detail, lowering the observer’s viewpoint of the motif, reduction of colour, simplification of form and emphasis on the mass of a motif. Picasso could achieve this concisely in modestly sized paintings and drawings  (those of the Boisgeloup period, the Dinard bathers and the Gosol figures), as can any artist who applies the principles. Painting fat figures on large surfaces tells us nothing about fatness but it reveals the painter’s insecurity, her need to bolster insubstantial depictions of bodies by expanding them to cinema-screen scale…”

Read the full article on THE JACKDAW, May 2011 here:

http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/?p=69