William Feaver (born 1 December 1942) is a British art critic, curator, artist and lecturer. From 1975–1998 he was the chief art critic of the Observer, and from 1994 a visiting professor at Nottingham Trent University. His book The Pitmen Painters inspired the play of the same name by Lee Hall.
Feaver was educated at Nottingham High School and Keble College, Oxford. After graduating from Oxford he became a teacher at Newcastle's Royal Grammar School (1965-71) before being appointed the Sir James Knott Fellow at Newcastle University. He is currently an academic board member of the Royal Drawing School.
Career as art critic
While at Newcastle, Feaver became the art critic of the Newcastle Journal before being appointed successively to the Listener (1971-75) and the Financial Times (1974-75) before being joining the Observer. He won the Art Critic of the Year award in 1983. Feaver conducted an exemplary interview with Lucian Freud in 1992, The artist out of cage on Freud's 70th birthday, which has been re-published in English and German in the catalog of the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt exhibition Lucian Freud: Naked Portraits.
Feaver has curated a number of exhibitions in the UK and abroad, including:
- George Cruickshank, V&A, 1974
- Thirties, Hayward Gallery, 1979
- The Ashington Group, Beijing, 1979
- Lucian Freud exhibitions at Abbot Hall, Kendal (1996),Tate Britain and La Caixa, Barcelona (2002), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2002-3) and Museo Correr, Venice (2005)
- Michael Andrews, Tate Gallery, 2001
- John Constable, Grand Palais, 2002
- The Art of John Martin, 1975
- When We Were Young, 1976
- Masters of Caricature, 1981
- Pitmen Painters, 1988
- Frank Auerbach, 2009
- The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth 1922–1968, 2019
His father was the Rt Rev Douglas Feaver. In 1964 Feaver married Victoria Turton (the poet Vicki Feaver). They had one son and three daughters. He married, secondly, in 1985, Andrea Rose OBE; they have two daughters, Alice and Dorothy.
- The Guardian on the Pitmen Painters
- Who's Who
- Feaver's biography on the Royal Drawing School website
- Who's Who
- The artist out of cage, The Observer Review, No.10495, Sunday 6 December 1992, pp.45-46.
- Rolf Lauter (Ed.): Lucian Freud: Naked Portraits. Werke der 40er bis 90er Jahre, pp. 286-295, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern-Ruit 2001. ISBN 3-7757-9043-8.
- "Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction shortlist revealed | The Bookseller". www.thebookseller.com. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
- Cruickshank at the V&A
- Thirties British Art & Design
- Lucian Freud at Abbot Hall
- Freud at the Correr
- Michael Andrews at the Tate
- Constable at the Grand Palais
- Who's Who