There's something off-putting about the Book cover for William Feaver's new biography, "The Lives of Lucian Freud: The Restless Years."

You can't tell a book by its cover

What you see is an image by fashion photographer Cecil Beaton of the British figure painter standing tall in an Olympian posture, his arms folded across his chest. And in the distance, a young female crouches on the floor, wide-eyed, looking scared. The artist is a known misogynist, but he was so much more than that. Why advertise misogyny on the cover like some supermarket tabloid?

Picturing disdain

Book critic Steve Donoghue, reviewing the bio for Book Marks, also noticed the woman in the background saying that while the artist is "standing heroically," there was another figure, which he described as "a haunted-eyed young woman in the background, sitting in the fireplace." Donoghue called it "ominously predictive," clearly alluding to Freud's reputation as a womanizer. To that point, a Vanity Fair article in 2012 by David Kam titled "Freud Interrupted," noted he sired 14 children with various women.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree

Like grandfather, like grandson. Sigmund Freud wasn't a womanizer, but he had disdain for women. He titled a dissertation he penned in 1925, "The Psychical Consequences of the Anatomic Distinction Between the Sexes." And If that didn't sound forbidding enough, listen to what he concluded: "Women oppose change, receive passively, and add nothing of their own."

Truth in advertising

Maybe the painter learned from his grandfather's disdain.

But ArtNet reports that he learned lessons in art from fellow painter Francis Bacon. Gleaning this point from Feaver's bio, ArtNet noted that their process of painting each other's portraits "taught them valuable lessons about art." All of which makes clear that the book is about making art, not male supremacism. The cover photo seems misleading.

If the idea was to illustrate the book title about Freud's "restless years," why not use one of his many self-portraits, which are the very picture of the restless state.

Shared space

An excerpt from Feaver's bio running in ArtNet further demonstrates that the book isn't only about Freud's sex life but also about his studio life.

It begins with his having to share a studio with Bacon at the Royal College of Art. Given the look of each other's painting, it's plain to see that they held sway over one another.

In Freud's own words

Here's Freud talking to Feaver in the bio, excerpted in ArtNet, about Bacon painting his portrait even before he showed up: “He had a photograph of Kafka leaning on the doorway, and he had been using that. I was amazed; it looked good to me. The first time he just did the foot. Then I came and stood about four or five times, and it got worse and worse every time and then, in the end, not very good. It isn’t very good, but it’s lively.”

The portrait of Freud by Bacon, made in 1952, hangs in the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, and according to ArtNet, it isn't a good likeness. But that "lively" air that Freud talked about can also be seen in every one of Freud's portraits.