My Weekend Review: Breakfast with Lucian

I can’t wait to read Geordie Greig’s book of the moment, Breakfast with Lucian, to be published 3rd October.

Lucian Freud and Geordie Greig met regularly for breakfast, throughout the last decade of Freud’s life. And it was during their many conversations over the table at Clarke’s restaurant, just a few doors from the painter’s West London home in Kensington Church Street, that the obsessively private man gradually opened up. That’s how Geordie describes how he came to write the book.

Serialised in the Daily Mail, I read the first extract of this sensational book on Saturday and was already looking forward to reading the next tranche on Monday. The genius with his five hundred lovers is certainly a subject worth exploring.

Artist's muse: Lucian Freud poses with Alexi Williams-Wynn, a lover, for a photo entitled The Painter Surprised

I once wrote to Lucian asking for an interview, which he delightfully turned down. I mentioned the episode once to my late good friend Christina Foyle, who advised me to keep his letter – notwithstanding his refusal – for she thought it might fetch some money if auctioned after his death. She was an astute lady who never missed a trick where money was concerned.

Geordie is a man of many talents. He’s an excellent journalist with an eye for a good narrative, writes lucidly and has perfected the art of story-telling. But above all he’s the sort of fellow whose warmth and willingness to put people together and make friends is legendary.

I have known him on and off for almost three decades, and I am truly amazed at his capacity to embrace many a project to widen his field of endeavours and yet remain robust, humble and accessible.

I can well understand why Lucian opened up and told him intimate things that he kept under wraps all his life. For that reason alone, I think the book will unravel as never before the life of this brilliant artist who felt an impulse to offload his emotions in a confessional manner, as if Geordie were his eternal confessor.

The book is a must read for all those interested in the human condition as it manifests itself in someone who was awesomely gifted, devastatingly attractive, obsessive, and fearsomely ruthless; yet, a magnet for women, fathering thirty children. He must have had Arabian blood in his genes, and left a trail of emotional carnage in the process.

In brief, a monster in tellurian clothing who nevertheless reigned supreme in the upper crust of society.

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