A renowned curator and respected insider of the international art scene since the mid-1960s, Michael Peppiatt has spent his professional life with many of the greatest artists of the 20th century. His close friendships and frequent studio visits with Dubuffet, Sonia Delaunay, Francis Bacon, Henry Moore, Balthus, Oldenburg, Brassai and Cartier-Bresson, among many others, have produced an incredible archive of interviews, from formal question-and-answer sessions to off-the-cuff conversations.
These interviews combine to give a unique perspective on art from the Second World War to the present day. Peppiatt has selected forty-five of the most noteworthy and fascinating of his conversations with artists, from the world-famous to the under-recognized. The author approaches his subjects with a characteristic mix of passion, insight and humour in a book that is consistently entertaining and informative, as the artists open up in unexpected ways about their work and their lives.
“Many of the conversations published here have a spark and intimacy that allow unexpected insights into the lives and work of some of the 20th century’s greatest artists.”—Apollo (Off the Shelf)
“The art of the critic-interviewer is, like that of the psychoanalyst, to draw poignant attention to what it is that the interviewee cannot express. The limitations imposed on Peppiatt are those of language itself, and they serve him well, causing him to nudge each of his subjects to the point where words fail them, to where the picture, the sculpture, the building or the photograph becomes the only means of expression.”—Talitha Stevenson, The Observer
“This fine collection of interviews from almost five decades moves from the figurative painters of London – notably Bacon and Auerbach – to artistic Paris, including the photographers Brassai and Cartier-Bresson. Some interviewees are little known to the British public, some world-famous, but the focus is always on the individual, as a good interview ought to be.”—Martin Gayford, RA Magazine
“Peppiatt is a soft but probing interlocutor, and his enthusiasm for his subject gleams from every page.” Lucy Davies, Sunday Telegraph
“How much do we learn about an artist’s work by reading their own words? Does an interview simply illuminate the personality rather than the work itself? These questions are addressed by Michael Peppiatt in his introduction to this collection of 41 interviews. [Though he] reminds us to never trust what an artist says about their work… he has no wish to catch artists ‘off their guard’… Peppiatt’s list includes the painfully taciturn and the fiercely articulate.” Fisun Guner, Metro
“A fascinating collection…” John Banville, Irish Times
“The 40 interviews here are by turns chatty, revealing, formal, informal; all retain a vivid sense of a social encounter. Although this book is perfect for dipping into at leisure and at random, taken together, Peppiatt’s accounts provide a gripping overview of an epoch.” Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times
“As a friend of many of those he interviewed, Peppiatt has been in a privileged position to gauge the trends of the last half century, and his passion for these artists, as much as for their art, is self-evident… The book has the feel of a collected biography, sufficiently steered by the masterful interviewer to give shape to the raw honesty it reveals… Simply conceived and, but pleasurable to pick up, interviews with Artists is a lot more than an aging critic’s memoirs.” Daisy Dunn, telegraph.co.uk