Leonard French (1928–2017), who created the great stained-glass ceiling at the National Gallery of Victoria, was widely regarded as the most public Australian artist of his day. By the early 1970s this outgoing working-class boy from rough and tough inner-Melbourne Brunswick had become top of the artistic heap, cock of the walk: his monumental glass commissions, murals and paintings were critically acclaimed and his commercial success was firmly established. A feisty contrarian with an eloquence that belied his humble origins, he delighted in publicly roasting the Australian art establishment, seeing its art historians, curators and caviling newspaper critics as his natural enemies. Yet suddenly in 1974 this public figure decided to shun the spotlight and seek solitude in Central Victoria. Why? All is revealed in this magnificent book by his long-time friend, Reg MacDonald.
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