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Deliciously Ugly Portraits of Famous Authors

Polish painted Feliks Topolski saw things in a very particular light — and not always a very flattering one. In 1960, after the Harry Ransom Center acquired a selection of his work that included an enormous portrait of George Bernard Shaw, Topolski was commissioned to paint portraits of 20 of the 20th century’s greatest British authors. The resultant series, Twenty Greats, was (quite understandably) not particularly well-liked by most of the authors in question, but we think the paintings are so devilishly ugly that they become beautiful again, drenched in sloppy expressive glory.  Click through to see some of our favorite portraits from Topolski’s series, and then be sure to head over to The Daily Beast to see the entire set — and find out what their subjects had to say about them.

T.S. Eliot. Image Credit: Feliks Topolski

E.M. Forster. Image Credit: Feliks Topolski

W.H. Auden. Image Credit: Feliks Topolski

Graham Greene. Image Credit: Feliks Topolski

Aldous Huxley. Image Credit: Feliks Topolski

Evelyn Waugh. Image Credit: Feliks Topolski

Rebecca West. Image Credit: Feliks Topolski

John Betjeman. Image Credit: Feliks Topolski

Cyril Connolly. Image Credit: Feliks Topolski

Edith Sitwell. Image Credit: Feliks Topolski

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