William Feaver

William Feaver’s Frank Auerbach came out this year.

Piperism: John and Myfanwy Piper

William Feaver, 17 December 2009

The elongated shards of smog grey, pea green and lemonade that, since 1968, have cast a wan light on pews reserved for the use of MPs in St Margaret’s, Westminster, are untypical of John Piper. Normally, his stained glass seethes, particularly in Coventry Cathedral, where a Piper sunburst behind the boulder that serves as a font irradiates a great wall of clunky fenestration. In...

In the Studio: Sitting for Frank Auerbach

William Feaver, 22 October 2009

In Frank Auerbach’s Recent Pictures, at Marlborough Fine Art (until 24 October), there may appear to be a compulsive zest. Alleyway and streetscape, seated figure and reclining head, are confidently asserted, eyes jabbed into expression, zig-zag strokes softening edges and sawing up the sides of tower blocks across the Hampstead Road. The zest is illusory though. It’s more a...

Francis Bacon liked to rail against illustration. ‘If you know how to record it you illustrate it,’ he’d cry. As for ‘illustrational paint’, ughh – the thought of that would set the jowls shuddering. ‘Illustration’ wasn’t just to be despised on its own account, it was a word to be smeared across whatever he chose to disparage, not least...

Oh for the oo tray: Edward Burra

William Feaver, 13 December 2007

Delicately, like a surgeon baring a pus-filled appendix, the man behind the counter slices a catering-size salami. His customer feeds a sandwich into her mouth, careful not to smudge the lipstick. Dolled up to the nines and facing professional competition from the pair of high-heeled legs just visible through the street door, she averts her eyes and readies herself for the first bite.


After he left school, his father took a piece of sculpture – a sandstone horse, almost two feet high, ‘three legs serving convincingly as four’ – that Lucian had made, to show to the Central School...

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