The Many Faces of Jonathan Yeo

 

The Many Faces of Jonathan Yeo

Coinciding with a retrospective exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery, The Many Faces of Jonathan Yeo is the first major publication on the artist. Featuring his most popular paintings, drawings, collages and prints, the book also presents several new important canvases never seen before. Alongside his intimate portraits of well-known sitters are dramatic and unsettling studies of cosmetic-surgery patients that document the compulsive and painful pursuit of physical perfection.

Photographs of the studio and works in progress reveal Yeo’s practice, while contributions from his subjects lift the lid on what it is like to be scrutinized by his exacting, forensic eye and to have oneself captured on canvas for ever. Martin Gayford discusses Yeo’s practice within the traditions of portraiture and compares the experience of being painted by him with that of sitting for Lucian Freud; Giles Coren offers revealing insights from the perspective of close personal friend and contemporary; Tim Marlow interprets the significance of Yeo’s political portraits; while a wide-ranging interview with Sarah Howgate, curator of the National Portrait Gallery show, considers the genesis of Yeo’s work and the relationships with his subjects. More than a monograph on a single artist, this book is also an enlightening exploration of the state of portraiture today, giving an insight into the risks faced by both portraitist and sitter.

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Ruben Cooke