This biography of Mark Gertler reappraises an extraordinary artist, a figure who fascinated his contemporaries. He is the sinister sculptor of D.H. Lawrence's "Women in Love", the dashing Byronic hero of Aldous Huxley's "Chrome Yellow", and the egotistical painter of Katherine Mansfield's "Je ne parle pas Francais". Gertler was admired and encouraged by Walter Sickert, Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Henry Moore. He was championed by the flamboyant Lady Ottoline Morrell, and his magnificent haunting pictures were keenly collected. Yet despite his seeming ease in London's society, he himself felt his Jewishness and his working-class background as insuperable barriers, and his artistic ambition gradually alienated him even from the people among whom he'd grown up. He found no happiness and at the age of 48 killed himself. A few weeks before his death he had dinner with Virginia Woolf and impressed her with his "fanatical devotion to his art". Hearing of his death she wondered if he had been "perhaps too rigid, too self-centred, too honest and too narrow" to be happy. But with this "intellect and interest" she asked "why did the personal life become too painful?" This is one of the questions Sarah MacDougall explores in her life of this complex man, whose powerful images, like the "Merry-go-round" or the "Creation of Eve" have lost none of their disturbing eloquence.