Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £19.99

Buy Now for £19.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

For 10 years Geordie Greig was among a very small group of friends who regularly met Lucian Freud for breakfast at Clarke's restaurant on Kensington Church Street. Over tea and the morning papers, Freud would recount stories of his past and discuss art. It was, in effect, Freud's private salon.

In this kaleidoscopic memoir, Greig remembers Freud's stories: of death threats; escaping from Nazi Germany; falling out with his brother Clement; loathing his mother; painting David Hockney; sleeping with horses; escaping the Krays; painting the Queen; his controversial role as a father; and why Velázquez was the greatest painter. It is revelatory about his art, his lovers, his children, his enemies, and his love of gambling.

Freud dared never to do dull, speaking candidly of dancing with Garbo as well as painting Kate Moss naked. Those closest to him, after decades of silence and secrecy, have spoken frankly about what life was like living, loving or sitting for the greatest figurative portraitist of the twentieth century. Partly based on hours of taped conversations with the artist and his circle, and drawing on interviews with those who knew Freud intimately - including many girlfriends, models, dealers and bookmakers - Breakfast with Lucian is an intimate portrait of the artist as a young and old man. It is a uniquely fascinating, personal and authoritative account of one of the greatest British painters of this century and the last, and a profile of a man who makes everyone else's life seem less lived.

©2013 Geordie Greig (P)2013 Random House AudioGo

More from the same

What listeners say about Breakfast with Lucian

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • t
  • 11-01-21

More sycophancy then insight

As a masterpiece of the establishment congratulating one of its own, with no discernment and often irritating self-congratulation, this is exemplary.
At times ghastly, at times utterly dull lists of the usual over-privileged and selfish wealthy circles of mid-century Britain, the actual insights into Freud’s work, working practice, or indeed motivations, are hard to find. But they are there, and worth holding on for. Not least, we are shown a selfish, irresponsible and sadistic individual, with little regard for consent, and less for personal boundaries. That speaks of the motivation behind his focus on painting the figure from life. His relationships, often described by those closest to him in gushing terms, are clearly on the scale of unhealthy to plain abusive. I was more than once reminded of hearing a battered wife say ‘oh but I love him’. And yet these reminiscences are recounted unquestioningly, as through the victims of his spite are able to excuse him his sometimes law breaking flaws. Where that impacts on the average person, whether punching a waiter, or a road accident, the writer recounts how Freud was rescued from consequences by his wealthy cronies as though we might share his delight. It is at times nauseating. The book was perhaps written to only be read by those who are either in those circles, or aspire to be.
One has to ask, without wealthy connections, high society and the attendant sexual freedom and fancy lifestyle, would he really have been painting beyond the 1950’s, and would anyone care.
This book has a limited contribution to make to the history of art, but it certainly puts this artists in a context which colours ones view of his achievements.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Indulgent but fascinating

Lots of fascinating details about one of the world's most accomplished portrait painters. We learn of Lucien Freud's relationship with his grandfather Sigmund and with his wide range of sexual partners, marriage partners, children, friends, other painters and gallery owners, and a whole lot more. While Geordie Greig tells an interesting story he also indulges us with more than we care to know about his own relationships, name-dropping and perspectives, and there is a risk of hagiography despite Lucien Freud's arrogance, hedonism, bullying, and ambiguous and contemporaneous love of women and misogyny.

Insights regarding the development of his painting style, what was entailed in sitting for him, and the range of models and family members painted are fascinating.

An important and valuable set of insights into one of the 20th Century's greatest artists. Would be great to have the artwork in front of one as one heard the background, context, description and critique. Something for Audible to work on?

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

artist to artist

If your looking for a insight to artists life this a great book that really captures the spirit. Highs, lows, thrills and spills. Great listen definitely recommend.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating and gripping

Insight in the life and working of probably to the best painter of our times - a pleasure to listen!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Tedious name dropping

Obviously having eventually agreed to talk to the author, this very private artist cleverly decided not to tell him anything remotely interesting. So much so that I only listened to about half of it before I gave up. The snippets that give some insight into Freud's work are so few and so overshadowed by long recitations of who was related to and in bed with whom that they just aren't worth waiting for. I'd probably have given up sooner but it was a long drive. The narrator does his best with the material.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful and honest story of Lucian Freud

So enjoyed getting lost in his world. Feel like i finally understand the paintings. This strange man behind a brush.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for robin shaw
  • robin shaw
  • 04-11-20

a captivating life of a unique painter

This has been an insightful journey through the life, foibles, and loves of Lucian Freud, a painter of extraordinary character and fame.
The narrator expertly portrays and makes real the people who had roles in this dramatic life story .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ilana
  • Ilana
  • 19-11-14

That Other Fascinating Freud

The grandson of that famous other Freud, Sigmund, Lucian Freud became one of the most famous artists of the late 20th and early 21st century while fiercely resisting any sort of public exposure, including having his photos taken or giving interviews for most of his lifetime. Geordie Greig contrived after years of repeated efforts and conniving to secure a series of breakfast interviews with the notoriously monomaniacal artist, and also interviewed friends, former lovers and models after Freud had passed away in 2011; only at that point were they willing to break the vow of silence they had kept, which they weren't willing to breach before, even if Freud had acted in outrageous ways toward them, because somehow under the influence of the immense charm and influence he had exerted on them. Freud had not been above employing thugs to threaten journalists and reporters who had been working on biographies of him, so fear of his wrath was as effective a silencer as the rest.

His tremendous talent and the one passion which guided his whole life and to which all sacrifices were made was his art, which eventually evolved to his signature paintings of nude models, often of friends and his family, including his own children, or of people he met who were willing to pose for him over many months and for sessions lasting very long hours. As a person he seemed to have more disturbing faults than can be enumerated, and as a father probably sent all his children into lifelong therapy (my own conjecture only). His other singular passion was sex, which he reportedly indulged in as frequently as he could with little regard for convention, and consequently, of children, he had fourteen recognized daughters and sons, two from his first wife and 12 from various mistresses, but none of them ever had much contact with him; he gave everything he had to his art and then some, always seeking to perfect himself in that single sphere of life, which ended up paying him back handsomely in the literal sense of the word. Love him and his work or hate him, he was a fascinating character, very well read and full of culture and stories. This book, both gossipy and filled with interesting tidbits and background information about some of his most well-known paintings, is a real treasure-trove and also a great treat in the audio format as narrated by John Standing, an actor and an aristocrat who might very well have been among the kind of people Freud himself would have happily associated with in his long and fruitful lifetime.

I borrowed the print edition from the library to see what I may have missed, suspecting it was probably illustrated with many of the paintings mentioned in the text and featuring pictures as well, and that is indeed the case, so I'd say both audio and book are worth getting your hands on.