With the paintings he called his ‘naked portraits’ and his aim to ‘make the paint work as flesh’, Lucian Freud (1922–2011) was able to reinvent portraiture. Although often controversial, his reputation grew to the point where Freud was hailed as the ‘greatest living realist painter’. In this survey, Virginia Button considers his life and work from a more distanced perspective than the many studies written during his lifetime.
One of the most radical British artists of the 20th century, Ben Nicholson (1894–1982) first came to international prominence with his remarkable ‘white reliefs’ of the 1930s and formed links with Picasso, Braque, Mondrian and others of the European avant-garde. This study explains his central role in the establishment of a modernist art community in St Ives, and why his importance to the development of modern art practice in Britain cannot be overstated.