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Books

Is Julian Barnes right to think Lucian Freud will survive? Jonathan Meades thinks not

<span style="color: #333333;">Meades takes issue with some of Barnes's speculations on the art that will and won't survive - but both agree conceptual art is dead in the water</span>

30 May 2015

9:00 AM

30 May 2015

9:00 AM

Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art Julian Barnes

Cape, pp.276, £16.99, ISBN: 9780224102018

The subject of the least characteristic essay in this engrossing collection of meditations on painters, painters’ lives, painting and reactions to painting is René Magritte — whose best work David Sylvester rather rashly claimed induces ‘the sort of awe felt in the presence of an eclipse’. Julian Barnes discusses what he calls the artist’s doctrine (doctrine?) of ‘elective affinities’, which proposes the antipodes of Lautréamont’s ‘chance encounter on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella’.

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