THE LIFE OF A PAINTER by Sir John Lavery
Kirkus Star

THE LIFE OF A PAINTER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Disarming, neatly turned personal story of a famous painter, with very tonic effect, Delightful reading, told with fluent wit and discerning candor, with none of the Me-Me and My-Work one has come to associate with most artist's stories. Born in Belfast, Lavery was soon orphaned and sent to his uncle's pawnshop in Ayrshire, where he spent an uneventful boyhood. At 17 he went to Glasgow, as apprentice to a painter-photographer, where through painting miniatures over photographs, he got his first actual experience. A bonanza in the form of a fire and insurance there from enabled him to get some real teaching in London -- then in Paris. Before long he was established as a portrait painter. The rest of the book is casual anecdotage of his travels, and of the personalities he encountered. Some grand Whistleriana, nice bits about Sargent and other colleagues, about his sitters (including Shaw, Barrie, Bernhardt, artists, royalty, statesmen). After a brief, early marriage, he married a second time, an American with whom he was very happy. She encouraged him in outside activities and enabled him to play a vital part in the Irish treaty. The popularity of this book will be limited only because of the fact that the portraitist is an Englishman and his name not 100% familiar to the American reading public. So give it a good send-off. It is worth it.

Pub Date: May 10th, 1940
Publisher: Little, Brown