Michael Peppiatt is an art historian, curator and writer.
Peppiatt graduated from Cambridge University in 1964, and joined The Observer as a junior art critic. He then went to Paris to take up an editorial job at Réalités magazine, where he remained until 1969, when he was appointed arts editor at Le Monde. In the mid-1970s he began reporting on cultural events across Europe for The New York Times and The Financial Times, becoming Paris correspondent for several art magazines, notably Art News and Art International. In 1985, Peppiatt became owner and editor of Art International, which he relaunched from Paris, devoting special issues to the artists he most admired.
In 1994, Peppiatt returned to London with his wife, the art historian Jill Lloyd, and their two children, where he wrote the biography of Francis Bacon (1909–1992), whose close friend and commentator he had been for thirty years. Chosen as a ‘Book of the Year’ by The New York Times and translated into several languages, the biography is considered the definitive account of Bacon’s life and work.
Peppiatt has curated numerous exhibitions worldwide, notably travelling retrospectives of the School of London, Francis Bacon, Alberto Giacometti, Christian Schad and Antoni Tàpies. In 2009, Peppiatt curated an exhibition of sculpture by Dado for the Venice Biennale, a Maillol retrospective for Barcelona, and a Caravaggio-Bacon exhibit for the Galleria Borghese in Rome. More recently he has organized a show of rarely seen sculptures, paintings and drawings by Giacometti in New York and brought out a monograph, “In Giacometti’s Studio” (Yale University Press), to accompany the show, which travelled to the Museum of Modern Art in Gallarate, Italy, in 2011, and will travel to the Buceruis Kunst Forum in Hamburg in early 2013.
In 2005, Peppiatt was awarded a Ph.D by the University of Cambridge for his publications on 20th-century art. He is a member of the Society of Authors and the Royal Society of Literature, and since 2010 he has been on the board of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome.
In 2012, Peppiatt published Interviews with Artists, a book of over forty interviews with personalities ranging from Jean Dubuffet, Balthus, and Oscar Niemeyer to Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Antoni Tàpies. An exhibition on this theme was shown at Eykyn Maclean in London.
Peppiatt is currently working on a Miró retrospective for Germany, an anthology of Francis Bacon's statements, letters and studio notes, and the first of several memoirs.
- 1964: Modern Art in Britain
- 1976: Francis Bacon: l’art de l’impossible (trans. with Michel Leiris)
- 1983: Imagination’s Chamber: Artists and their Studios (with Alice Bellony Rewald)
- 1987: The School of London
- 1997: Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma
- 2000: Zoran Music
- 2001: Alberto Giacometti in Post-War Paris
- 2002: Aristide Maillol
- 2003: Christian Schad and the Neue Sachlichkeit (ed. with Jill Lloyd)
- 2003: Dans l’atelier de Giacometti
- 2003: Vincent van Gogh
- 2004: Francis Bacon: le sacré et le profane
- 2006: L’amitié Leiris-Bacon: Une étrange fascination
- 2006: Francis Bacon in the 1950s
- 2006: Les dilemmes de Jean Dubuffet
- 2007: Van Gogh and Expressionism (ed. with Jill Lloyd)
- 2008 Francis Bacon in the 1950s
- 2008: Francis Bacon: Studies for a Portrait
- 2008: Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma (revised edition)
- 2009: Caravaggio/Bacon
- 2010: In Giacometti's Studio
- 2010: Alberto Giacometti: An Intimate Portrait
- 2012: Interviews with Artists (1966-2012)
- "Francis Bacon in the 1950s". Yale University Press. 2006-12-18.
- Talitha Stevenson (2012-03-31). "Interviews with Artists, 1966‑2012 by Michael Peppiatt – review". The Observer.