The Making of Modern Art Selected Writings Michael Peppiatt

Publication date:
12 May 2020
Yale University Press
256 pages: 229 x 152mm
Sales territories:


Selected writings from a leading critic of modern art, “the best art writer of his generation” (Art Newspaper)

Michael Peppiatt, guest curator of the Royal Academy of Arts’ 2021 exhibition ‘Francis Bacon: Man and Beast’, has for more than 50 years written trenchant and lively dispatches from the centre of the international art world. In this collection of key essays, Peppiatt gives his unique insight into the making and interpretation of modern art, from Manet and Degas through to Kandinksy and Picasso to Freud and Hockney. 

Covering a whole spectrum of artists and art-world figures—from pioneers such as Klimt and Soutine, to collectors and dealers who played a pivotal role in the modern art world, to artists such as Jean Dubuffett, Francis Bacon and Zoran Music, with whom he had close relationships—Peppiatt interweaves personal anecdote with critical judgement. Each text is accompanied by a new introduction, written in the author’s signature vivid and jargon-free style, in which he contextualises his writings and reflects on significant moments in a lifetime of artistic engagement. This volume will provide readers with an exhilarating tour of the extraordinary reach and variety of modern art. 

Michael Peppiatt is a well-known writer and curator whose career as an art critic began in London and Paris in the 1960s. Described by the Art Newspaper as “the best art writer of his generation,” his previous books include The Existential Englishman, Francis Bacon in Your Blood, Alberto Giacometti in Postwar Paris, Francis Bacon in the 1950s, Francis Bacon: Studies for a Portrait, In Giacometti’s Studio and Interviews with Artists, 1966-2012. He is guest curator of the Royal Academy of Arts’ exhibition ‘Francis Bacon: Man and Beast’ (London, 2021).

Every piece, even on long-dead artists, rings with vitality and presence…[T]his essential book encapsulates a moment in the history of art that feels distinctly alien now…it reads like first-hand reportage of a lost world.”—Ben Street, Times Literary Supplement