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John Craxton: A Life of Gifts Reviews

John Craxton: A Life of Gifts by Ian Collins

John Craxton: A Life of Gifts

Ian Collins

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 4 May 2021
ISBN: 9780300255294

Uplifting and engaging, this story recounts the life and career of a rebellious 20th-century British artist

4 stars out of 5
8 May 2021

"If this account is undoubtedly written with the warmth and empathy of friendship, it doesn’t shy away from the shadows. "

If this account is undoubtedly written with the warmth and empathy of friendship, it doesn’t shy away from the shadows. Craxton was often skint, relying on endless handouts and the hospitality of friends — though many protested that he repaid them in spades. Conviviality often took precedence over painting, to the detriment of his career, and from his base in Crete he was increasingly aware of becoming an artistic outsider. Though he was normally apolitical, his decade-long banishment from Greece during the Colonels’ rule was a period of wandering and disorientation. Yet running though the highs and lows like a seam of gold is his distinctive body of work, beautifully illustrated, and the indomitable, teasing, sometimes rebarbative voice that charmed so many, always building up to the next joke, never taking itself too seriously, and sweeping all but the most cynical along with it.

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