Modernists and Mavericks: Bacon, Freud, Hockney and London Painters

Martin Gayford’s masterful account of painting in London from the Second World War to the 1970s, illustrated by documentary photographs and the works themselves. Modernists and Mavericks explores this period based on an exceptionally deep well of firsthand interviews, often unpublished, with such artists as John Craxton, Lucian Freud, Allen Jones, R. B. Kitaj, Terry Frost, Gillian Ayres, Bridget Riley, and David Hockney. But Martin Gayford also teases out the thread weaving these individual lives together and demonstrates how and why, long after it was officially declared dead, painting lived and thrived in London. Simultaneously aware of the influences of Jackson Pollock, Giacometti, and (through the teaching passed down at the major art school) the traditions of Western art from Piero della Francesca to Picasso and Matisse, the postwar painters were bound by their confidence that this ancient medium could do fresh and marvelous things, and explored in their diverse ways, the possibilities of paint.