‘Painfully honest on what it means to be a woman who puts art first, no matter what’ Olivia Laing
I’m not a portrait painter. If I’m anything, I have always been an autobiographer.
In Self-Portrait, Celia Paul reveals a life truly lived through art. She moves effortlessly through time, in words and images, from her arrival at the Slade School of Fine Art at sixteen, through a profound and intense affair with the older and better-known artist Lucian Freud, to the practices of her present-day studio. This intimate memoir is, at its heart, about a young woman navigating the path to artistic freedom, with all the sacrifices and complications that entails.
‘Powerful’ Zadie Smith
‘Captivating… Mesmerising’ New York Times
**Shortlisted for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize **
Captivating… Mesmerizing… Paul’s powers of observation are keen and often ruthless. — Jennifer Szalai ― New York Times
A poetic, sometimes painfully honest memoir. — Tim Adams ― Observer
I loved the painter Celia Paul’s memoir Self-Portrait. It’s fascinating for its account of her long-term lover Lucian Freud (he emerges as the ultimate man-baby, by turns charismatic, needy and breathtakingly selfish), but it’s also painfully honest on what it means to be a woman who puts art first, no matter what. — Olivia Laing ― New Statesman
The publication of this, her first book, is of great significance… Having recently returned to writing again, she has found a new confidence, in words, in herself and in her painting… No longer wanting to remain simply a part of Freud’s story, she wanted to make him part of her story, a narrative about her life as a painter. … Paul’s memoir therefore seems fresh, and comes as a surprise. — Frances Spalding ― Guardian, *Book of the Week*
A story of obsession and manipulation that sends our feelings on a rollercoaster… [Self-Portrait] turns into a sort of myth about the misuse of fame and the male ego, about the struggles faced by creative women, about the body in all its guises. Like a myth, it unfolds with confusions and contradictions, a terrible inevitability and many, many discomfiting truths. — Jan Dalley ― Financial Times
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