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Edited by Frederic Raphael
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (144 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2004)
Tatler editor Geordie Greig's Book of the Year, 2004
Sarah Raphael (1960-2001) died young: preparing a show for New York, she contracted pneumonia and never recovered. Her work, large- and small-scale, is now represented in all the leading British collections. A major retrospective at Marlborough Fine Arts, London, in 2003, bringing together work from her last seven years, was as amazing as her earlier exhibitions in its brilliance, its formal variety and inventiveness.
One breathtaking area of her work which has so far been inadequately displayed is her drawing. There are few modern artists who equal her in assurance and firmness of line. Michael Ayrton said to her when she was fourteen, 'Draw your own hands. If you can draw your own hands you can do anything.' She did, and she could. Her informal portraits of friends, some well-known, some unknown, never flatter except in telling the truth. She did justice to every model, and her sense of setting, the economy of her perspectives, her ability to create presence, continue to amaze the viewer. Even the most seemingly casual sketch, closely observed, reconstitutes an original, sculptural space about it. The lessons Michael Ayrton taught ensured that she is always at least a three-dimensional artist.
Most of the drawings are from her notebooks and sketchbooks, and Frederic Raphael draws from over twenty-five years of work, primarily pencil sketches. As William Boyd has written, 'you can tell how good they are, yourself'. She has her own, unarguable authority.
Awards won by Sarah Raphael Winner, 2004 Tatler Editor Geordie Greig's Book of the Year (Drawings) Winner, 1996 NatWest Painting Prize Winner, 1993 Villiers David Prize
Praise for Frederic Raphael 'A hilarious and disillusioned page-turner.'
Peter Green, The TLS
'Against the Stream offers many insights into Raphael's "double life". An American who made his career in Britain. A Jew who went to Charterhouse and Cambridge. A Hollywood script-doctor who read Ancient Greek for fun. Vain, sharp-tongued, but the sort of truth-teller Britain needed then and needs now.'
David Herman, Standpoint
'In these notebooks, Raphael shows himself alert to every vanity but his own, a shortcoming that, far from repelling a reader, becomes part and parcel of the their fascination. He is one of those writers who most reveals himself in his acerbic anatomy of others.'
Anthony Quinn, Telegraph 'Aphoristic, lapidary and sumptuously reflective by turns, Personal Terms is a joy to read both for Raphael's prose and mental powers. It is a book of iridescent intelligence, seductive charm, urbane temper and unflagging delight - indeed a minor masterpiece.'
Times Literary Supplement
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