The Brilliance and Brutality of Lucian Freud

Andrew Marr at the New Statesman:

There is a much darker side to his life, too. The relentless womanising, including with vulnerable people far, far younger than him; the children so numerous they were hard to keep track of; the brutal break-ups, vicious feuds and spasms of verbal cruelty that made Freud, for many people, an impossibly sulphurous figure, a coldly brilliant predator smoking with menace. Observing him at the Jewish wedding in London of the painter RB Kitaj, the poet Stephen Spender whispered to Feaver: “I can’t stand being in the same place with Lucian. He is an evil man.”

How is a biographer and a friend supposed to bridge this impossible gap of perception? Freud’s doctor, Michael Gormley, perhaps comes nearest to a balanced picture when he described him as “one of those wonderful people who owned his self. His selfishness. He had an addictive personality. Addictive people love intensity; it’s the nature of the personality, ruling everything…”

more here.