Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

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Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:05 pm

Realist painter Lucian Freud dies at 88

Realist painter Lucian Freud has died after an illness aged 88, his art dealer said Thursday. The grandson of Sigmund Freud, Lucian was known for his paintings of nudes and was one of the most important British artists of the 20th century.


By News Wires (text)

AP - Lucian Freud, a towering and uncompromising figure in the art world for more than 50 years, had died after an illness, his New York-based art dealer said Thursday. He was 88.

Freud was known for his intense realist portraits, particularly of nudes. In recent years his paintings commanded staggering prices at auction, including one of an overweight nude woman sleeping on a couch that sold in 2008 for $33.6 million.

William R. Acquavella, his dealer, said in a statement that he would mourn Freud “as one of the great painters of the twentieth century.” “He lived to paint and painted until the day he died, far removed from the noise of the art world,” he said.

Freud did not follow the trends of that world, insisting on using his realist approach even when it was out of favor with critics and collectors. He stubbornly developed his own unique style, eventually winning recognition as one of the world’s greatest painters.

“He certainly is considered one of the most important painters of the 20th and 21st Centuries,” said Brett Gorvy, deputy chairman of the postwar art department at Christie’s auction house in New York. “He stayed with his figurative approach even when it was extremely unpopular, when abstraction was the leading concept, and as time moved on his classic approach has proven to be very important. He fought the system and basically won.”

Gorvy said Freud remained totally dedicated to his work, overcoming all obstacles and painting long hours every day well into his late 80s in a sustained bid to complete his life’s work before death overtook him.

“He lived and breathed his art,” said Gorvy. “For someone who was so successful, he was extraordinarily regulated in his day, with three main sittings a day and some at night. He worked each and every day to this very tough regime. He was very aware of his own mortality and he knew his time was very, very precious.”

Funeral arrangements were not immediately made clear.


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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:08 pm


After Cezanne 1999-2000.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:11 pm


Girl with a white dog, 1951 – 1952, Tate Gallery. Portrait of Freud's first wife, Kitty (Kathleen) Garman, the daughter of Jacob Epstein and Kathleen Garman.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:13 pm


Portrait of QEII- LF.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 pm


Sue from the Benefits Agency (Benefits Supervisor Sleeping)- LF.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:44 pm

Talent in the raw

Are Lucian Freud's nudes cruel and misogynistic, or, as some say, unusually tender? Stuart Jeffries asked an expert witness - one of his models

Stuart Jeffries The Guardian, Monday 10 June 2002


Louise Liddell: "Freud adores women in all their variety."

In Lucian Freud's 1992 painting, Woman Holding Her Thumb, Louise Liddell lies naked and contorted on an unmade bed. Though it is less strongly vaginal than some of his female nudes - a cunningly draped thigh sees to that - there could surely be no clearer indication of the misogynistic sadism of the voyeur-painter, whose sexualised gaze reduces his sitter to a vulnerable object clutching her thumb for comfort.

"That really is the most appalling rubbish," says Louise Liddell, fully clothed and anything but vulnerable. "You know, people are always calling Lucian a misogynist and sadist, but it's just silly. He adores women of all classes, shapes and sizes."

And Freud, whose retrospective exhibition opens next week, has adored a lot of women, both in paint and otherwise. Picture framer Louise Liddell, 49, is one of his painted women, along with the Queen, DSS benefits supervisor Sue "Big Sue" Tilley, pregnant supermodel Kate Moss - whom he is painting now - model-turned-actor Jerry Hall, the painter's mother and his daughters, as well as a string of lovers and otherwise significant others.

"I think he only paints women he likes," says Liddell, who has been framing Freud's paintings for 20 years. "He will paint women looking fat, saggy, wrinkly, veined or whatever, but that's not being misogynistic. That's treating women as real rather than painting some kind of Barbie doll. That's why he couldn't paint Diana - he was being pressed at one point to paint her. He said he couldn't get past that sheen of glamour. The image was so strong that he couldn't get at the real person."

Did he get the real you? "Oh yes. God yes. Frighteningly so." Liddell, sitting in the back room of her framing firm in London's West End, reaches for her Freud monograph. And there she is, upside down and naked, opposite a portrait of the flamboyant icon Leigh Bowery.

"Look at my right leg in the painting at the top of the canvas," she says. "That is just me. I can't explain it any better than that."

But isn't Freud a monster to work with, getting you to assume all kinds of difficult positions and forcing you to hold them for hours? "God, yes. He's an absolute beast. You arrive at the studio and get plied with champagne. He's a great cook and he usually prepares something lovely to eat in the break, like lobster or game. Often he would have woodcock or quail cooking away while we were painting, ready to be eaten when we had a break. You see that stomach? It was often rumbling. I mean, what a monster."

How did he get you into that position? "There was no question of him telling me how to lie. He did say I think we should use the bed rather than the chair. He just said make yourself comfortable, so I just wriggled about until I was. I felt utterly comfortable with him. I suppose I trusted him. I just twisted around so I could look at the canvas. And the reason I'm holding my thumb is so I can keep that position."

Liddell spent three or four evenings a week after work for six months naked on Freud's bed. "I was working extremely hard and then going and sitting until about one or two in the morning. It was a hellish commitment. But at the same time it was utterly fascinating. He's absolutely dedicated: he has been painting about 16 hours a day for the past 60 years. He has his day paintings, has a four-hour break and then starts work on his night paintings. I was a night painting.

"During the sitting I would get really stiff, but in the end, each time I lay down in the position, I just fell asleep. Sometimes I would hear this irritated foot-tapping and I would awake to learn that I had been lying there twitching, probably having all kinds of suggestive Freudian dreams.

"One night he was sort of discontented and shuffling about and I said, 'What's wrong?' and he said, 'Could you make your belly more interesting?' and I collapsed in laughter. He thought it was a perfectly reasonable request. I was quite glad to get my life back after six months."

Freud once said: "Mustn't be indulgent to the subject-matter. That is a recipe for bad art." What did the subject-matter think of the result? "I think it's bloody good. But my hairdresser thought he got the hair wrong."

Did he have any special requests? "He always wants you to be au naturel. I tend to wear a lot of eye make-up and I remember once turning up like that and he said: 'Oh God! You look like Mata Hari!' "

In lieu of payment for her time, Freud gave Liddell an etching version of the painting. They have since become close friends, as is often the case with his sitters.

How did they meet? "It's a very curious story. I became obsessed with Freud long before I met him. When I was very young I was a nurse and I was interested in art, I saw these pictures by him in the Tate and they stayed in my head. Then in 1976, the Sunday Times supplement had these photos of him with his mother sitting in a cafe. And for some reason I kept one of them. There was just something very fascinating about him.

"Years later I went to Italy and decided to be a carver, came back to London and worked as a framer. And one day who should walk in but Lucian Freud. He was this strange little birdy man, peeping at me. I was always told you weren't supposed to talk to him - he was rather intimidating. He was in a big old coat with the collar turned up, and a picture in a tatty old sheet.

"Then one day, he had had some trouble with a model who hadn't turned up. He was very irritated. And James Kirkman, who was his dealer, said: 'You ought to paint Louise.' I just laughed and said: 'Oh God, any time!' and he just looked and said: 'Really?' and I said 'Yes!' and that was it. It was incredibly exciting. I was absolutely staggered that he would be interested in me at all."

Was it an intimate relationship? "The relationship between painter and sitter is almost claustrophobic, it's so intimate." This chimes with something that the critic William Feaver has written for the catalogue for the Tate Britain retrospective: "The relationship of painter to sitter, practical, professional, necessarily exploitative, involves a conspiratorial intimacy, a familiarity that transfers to the painting as it becomes the third party in the relationship and the main concern: literally the love object."

For Freud it is all a matter of respect. "There is something about a person being naked in front of me that invokes consideration," he has written. "You could even call it chivalry on my part."

Somewhere, then, between chivalry and exploitation falls the relationship between painter and painted. As Feaver writes, it is no good for the painter to be too tender towards his subjects, because that way lies the sentimentality that ruined, for example, Rembrandt's pictures of Titus. "Rembrandt loved Titus so much he couldn't quite do him straight," Freud once said. "I'm very conscious of Titus disease."

Sometimes, perhaps, he has overcompensated for fear of catching Titusitis, creating portraits that are unsentimental, certainly, but hardly comfortable viewing for the subject. His portrait of Jerry Hall, for instance, transformed the glamourpuss into a blubbery mass. On honeymoon in 1954, he painted his bride, Caroline Blackwood, looking sad and ill, while he stood on the sidelines with his hands in his pockets. It is not hard to construct from this evidence a picture of a cruel artist, bent on humiliating the women whom he depicts. But for Liddell, at least, such a picture would be a cruel distortion.

Does he paint women differently from men? "I don't think so," says Liddell. "There are some incredibly tender portraits of men - there's that heartbreaking one of John Minton. He does like to capture power. There's a wonderful one of Lord Rothschild sitting and looking languidly powerful at you. The same thing is true of his picture of the Queen." What, the controversial portrait of Liz, described by one critic as "a blue-chinned nightclub bouncer in a fright wig and a filthy temper"? "I just think it's a picture of a real woman, an old lady and a grandmother, but what power!"

"He just adores women in all their variety. I'm a member of a health club and I was describing to him the bizarre sights you see in the changing rooms. I said there was a very leggy 6ft model who was naked and the first item of clothing she put on were her stilettoes. Then there was an Arab lady with glowing skin and really voluptuous, and an Indian lady with exquisite features. He was sitting there with this wistful look on his face, saying, 'God. I wish I could have been there!' " Perhaps they should get him a special pass. For the sake of art, you understand.


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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:49 pm


Jerry Hall Eight Months Pregnant- LF.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:55 pm


Pregant Kate Moss- LF.

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Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:01 pm

The master at work

Younger than Damien Hirst. Sexier than Tracey Emin. Weirder than David Falconer. Lucian Freud's new exhibition proves he is Britain's greatest living artist, says leading critic Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes The Guardian, Tuesday 6 April 2004


Lucian Freud's self-portrait: the Wallace show is "a triumphant vindication of painting's rights of claim"

If you wanted perfect demonstrations, on the one hand, of how good contemporary art can get, and on the other of how awful and dumb-arsed it can be, there could be no better place than London right now. At the latter extreme you have the show at the Saatchi Gallery called New Blood, a quaintly vampirical title that signals the presence of a mass of new stuff, almost all of which (except for some pictures by that sturdy and perennially interesting talent Paula Rego) vividly testifies to the patron-dealer-promoter's lack of any kind of connoisseurship at all.

At the former, there is a smallish gallery in the Wallace Collection, which has been temporarily cleared to make way for recent work, about two years' worth of it, by Britain's Lucian Freud. At 81, Freud is so much younger than any of the Britart dreck installed on the other side of the Thames: younger than Damien Hirst's slowly rotting shark in its tank of murky formalin; weirder than David Falconer's Vermin Death Star, which is composed of thousands of cast-metal rats; and about a hundred times sexier than Tracey Emin's stale icon of sluttish housekeeping, her much-reproduced bed. His work is supremely tough, ruthless even. But it has none of the facile emotional posturing that appeals to the kind of institutional adman's taste, the bratty cynicism and quick-fix sensationalism that pervades the Saatchi collection.

In fact, Saatchi once owned a number of Freuds, some of exceptional quality, but then he sold them off; perhaps, in the end, they were too grown-up for him. Or perhaps, when you come down to it, the man is just another dealer, and not a very distinguished one at that, with no actual, earned right to be thought of as a leader of late-modernist taste. The whole exercise in mythmaking was just a noisy sprint up a blind alley. New Blood is an utter fiasco.

But there Freud is, where he ought to be: a genuine national treasure, briefly ensconced in one of England's (and the world's) supreme collections. There are logistical problems - the little gallery is hardly more than a lobby between two much larger ones, so that the Wallace, unused to crowd control, has had to limit the number of visitors to 50 in the room at a time; how that will work out, we have yet to see.

Things weren't always like that. Plenty of people, and not old ones either, can remember a time when people certainly didn't get in line to see such work, when Freud, instead of being placed alongside Edward Hopper in the pantheon of modern painting, was seen (if glimpsed at all) as a mere afterthought to the world triumph of American abstract art. Many art-folk in the 1960s and 70s would have thought him "less interesting" than Andy Warhol (no doubt some still do, but they are fools). What one sees in this show, and takes away from it, is a triumphant vindication of painting's rights of claim. The way Freud perceives a form and builds it up from oily mud on a piece of cloth; the way he constructs analysed equivalents to reality - all that, at best, is inspiring. It represents an order of experi ence totally different from the relatively weightless coming-into-sight of a photographic image or a silkscreen.

This is not a claim for moral superiority. But it does seem, at least to me, to indicate where traditional painting of the kind Freud does shows its perceptual superiority over photo-derived art. Every inch of the surface has to be won, must be argued through, bears the traces of curiosity and inquisition - above all, takes nothing for granted and demands active engagement from the viewer as its right. Nothing of this kind happens with Warhol, or Gilbert and George, or any of the other image-scavengers and recyclers who infest the wretchedly stylish woods of an already decayed, pulped-out postmodernism.

And it is a curious part of the "Freud effect", if one can so call it, that one feels no bump, no awkward transition, in passing from one gallery of the Wallace Collection, with its Rubens oil-sketches, to the room the Freuds hang in. Both are manifestly part of the same tradition, the same noble continuity of pictorial eloquence. You are not looking at an "original" and an "imitator", at "source" and "quotation". Nobody knows more clearly than Freud himself that he is not a reborn Rubens (or Hals, or Watteau, or Géricault, or Manet, or any of the other objects of his homage). That kind of rhetoric is for boastful dolts such as Julian Schnabel or Jeff Koons. To call Lucian Freud "humble" in the face of his great mentors is both to understate things and to miss the peculiar intensity of his fascinated arrogance.

The Wallace has set forth a big tranche of Freud's work. He has always been notable for his slowness. He takes for ever to finish a portrait; nothing hurries those furrowed crusts of paint, those deadly poisonous white kilos of lead oxide. All the less expected, then, to see how much work he has put behind him over the past couple of years. Nearly all the 22 paintings and etchings at the Wallace were finished between 2002 and this year.

In fact, the enormous image of his friend, assistant, photographer and frequent model David Dawson, splayed buck-naked on a day-bed in the studio - his imposing scrotum looking larger than the pillow behind his head - was only finished at the last moment, just before the van came to take it away to Manchester Square. (An exhibition of Dawson's own photographs, including a remarkable image of David Hockney posing blockish and silver-thatched alongside his portrait by Freud, has just opened at the National Portrait Gallery.) One is put in mind of another great English painter, Turner, adding mysterious spots and smears to his landscapes on varnishing-day at the Royal Academy.

This portrait of David and Eli, 2003-4 (Eli being a nervous, alert whippet, whose quick sit-up glances are so reminiscent of Freud's own facial expressions, sidelong and knowing; here, though, it drapes languidly down the bed, in a posture of almost sybaritic trust) is the show's masterpiece. It possesses an amazing structural toughness and Dawson's body, though in the act of reclining, seems at the same moment to tower over you: a doubling whose strangeness seems only to grow the more you look.

But although one may recognise in this painting an amplitude and confident grandeur which, you might think, had vanished from English portraiture with the deaths of Sargent and Sickert, it isn't by any means the only memorable human image in this show. There are the strong, long-boned female nudes. There is the almost overwhelming presence of Andrew Parker-Bowles, unbuttoned but extremely fierce, in the uniform of a brigadier, red stripes blazing, blood beating its tattoo under the skin, the head with its bony and meaty facets looking weightier than a cannonball - a long-delayed riposte, one might suppose, to Manet's Fifer.

And there are the animals. Perhaps no one has brought more feeling to the scrutiny of dogs since Landseer, though Freud would doubtless prefer a comparison to Stubbs. The task of depicting dogs - particularly beloved ones - attracts false feelings like fleas, but Freud's great etched portrait of Eli is all objective animal, no phoney "humanism". Even when he paints the grave of Pluto, Eli's predecessor (rather confusingly, Pluto, though named after the male god of the underworld, was a whippet bitch), he doesn't get soppily reminiscent: it is just a little wintry patch of earth and leaves.

A lot has been written about Freud the unsparing analyst of character - too much, perhaps, and often lopsidedly. The fact that he is one of Sigmund's grandsons does not do a lot to characterise the feel of his work, which, despite early parallels to German Neue Sachlichkeit portraiture in the 20s, is more often lyrical than clinical, though the lyricism sometimes partakes of melancholy. Witness the enchanting little picture of Freud's grandson, the little boy Albie, with his cheeky lobe of tongue poking out; or even more, the portrait of Frances Costelloe, 2003, a girl given over to absorption like any young woman in Chardin, dreaming with her head on a pillow, as perfect a realisation of inwardness as modern painting has to offer.

The analysis painting can offer is very different to the analysis of a shrink, and the narratives of form in Lucian Freud's work are, above all, formal. What they often reflect is not so much a psychic transaction between sitter and artist, as the sheer tedium of submitting oneself to the painter's constant scrutiny, hour after hour, in the studio light. The eyes glaze and look inwards. But not all the time.

There is a lot more humour and sweetness in Freud than he is credited with - it's just that his unsparing wit and pitiless judgment, which allow the sentimental no room, tend to crowd them out of his never very accommodating public image. He finds many people banal, often unbearably so. He has, in abundance, the sheer mercilessness that Baudelaire attributed to the dandy as a type. People looking for art that will appease their expectations of warmth and unearned self-esteem do well to steer clear of him. Pericolo vipere, as the pathside signs in Italy used to say: danger, vipers.

And then there is the Horse's Backside. Freud, as is well known, has always been a connoisseur of the gee-gees, a deep plunger at the track, an obsessed student of their form. Not far from where he lives in Holland Park is a riding school, one of whose star horses is a skewbald mare, admired by Freud for her evident self-love: the head wasn't much, but her backside was magnificent and she revelled in having it patted and stroked. (Any analogy with Freud's human models may be left on one side.) Freud's Skewbald Mare, 2004, is an enthusiastic homage to it, and to her. The scheme of colours is very reduced - rich browns, dirty whites. But the brushmarks convey, with marvellous plasticity, the shagginess and density of the animal's coat, and the muscular strength that underlies it. Headless, it is none the less full of character: it does not read as a fragment or as an incomplete form. Its cropping seems different to photographic cropping.

But it is a striking example of how Freud's concentration on a motif will conclude it, round its meaning off, even when in another artist's hands it would be inconclusive. Other depictive artists should look at Freud and either despair or get inspired.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:04 pm


Reflection. Self Portrait, 1985- LF.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:02 pm

Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud, by Martin Gayford

Martin Gayford creates a portrait of an anarchic painter with views on everything from Leonardo's failings to Princess Margaret's voice

Laura Cumming The Observer, Sunday 26 September 2010


Lucian Freud with Martin Gayford. Photograph: David Dawson

There is a comic scene, about halfway through art critic Martin Gayford's patient account of sitting for Lucian Freud for seven punishing months, when the two men are speeding down Bayswater Road in a taxi. Freud suddenly asks Gayford where he can buy bathroom scales, anxious that he may have gained a pound or two in weight. They are about to reach a luxurious restaurant.


Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud by Martin Gayford

Gayford is taken aback, until the artist explains that every ounce counts when you spend 10 hours a day on your feet darting back and forth before the canvas. It must indeed take stamina, Gayford reflects, to be a truly great painter like Freud. "I suggest John Lewis for the scales."

Whatever else this book may be – a series of biographical close-ups, a volume of table talk, a portrait of the artist painting a portrait – it is essentially a double act, two men stuck together until the sittings are over and Freud lays down his palette. And no matter how fascinating its revelations of the artist's working life and his pungent views on painting, what carries the narrative is this dialogue between the two, in which Freud is vividly surprising, potent and dynamic, while Gayford is steadily attentive and respectful, occasionally worrying about his appearance in a mock‑Pooterish manner.

Lucian Freud famously guards his privacy, avoiding the press, visiting museums by night and giving only two TV interviews, to my knowledge, in the last quarter-century. His studio, with its rag heaps, plastered walls and pearl-grey light, appears in most of his pictures, but few people know its address. And though he has talked to other art critics over the years, notably Robert Hughes and William Feaver, Gayford is the first to record the daily ritual of sitting. In his account, a strong portrait of Freud emerges: anarchic, of high vigour and spirits, an accomplished story-teller and voracious painter, working on three or four subjects a day, seven days a week. His conversation glides from Kafka to horses' rumps, from the shortcomings of Christopher Isherwood to Princess Margaret's singing voice, from the genius of Gwen John to the personalities of eggs.

As he works – shielding his eyes, a quiver of brushes between his fingers, dabbing the canvas "like a person making contact with something hot" – Freud mutters and sighs, criticising the latest mark, goading himself onwards. This could be any portrait painter at the easel; indeed the painterly process from charcoal underdrawing to claggy conclusion is the least interesting part of the book, partly because how they are made is so evident in the paintings.

What is unusual is the fact that the sitter is painting a rival portrait, of sorts, and the sheer volume of their conversation. Most of the talk happens before and after evening sessions, "like a marathon dinner date", and Freud's opinions become addictive: his loathing of Leonardo and "the awful Mona Lisa", of Raphael's weightless figures ("I sometimes can't tell which way up they're supposed to be"), of everything by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, whose work is "the nearest painting can get to bad breath". Picasso, whom he knew, is guilty of emotional dishonesty and being out "to amaze, surprise and astonish", compared to Matisse, whose art is far greater because it concerns the life of forms, "which is what art is about, really".

As for the old masters, Freud's insights are piercing and astringent. He cannot love Vermeer for the "curious way his people just aren't there". He believes every good painting contains, indeed requires, "a little bit of poison". It is a pity he doesn't give more examples, but the poison in Titian – his god – is a sense of mortality; precisely what people see in Freud himself.

And about himself, Freud is equally trenchant. The things that many find contentious in his work – his view of the nude as a human animal, of its head as just another limb – are exactly as he ordains them. It is startling to learn that he gave up his early, graphic style as a kind of retaliation to his critics. "People used to write 'He's a fine draughtsman, but the paintings are rather flat.' I thought, I'd better put a stop to that." More surprising still is his ideal response from the viewer of a new work: "Oh, I didn't realise that was by you"; an impossible dream, but remarkably uncomplacent.

Gayford is a careful scribe, noting everything said with plausible integrity (even though, presumably, no tape recorder was used, since he only decided to write the book after the painting was finished). His questions are valuable in everything they yield, and his observations are put over with clarity. He captures particularly well the strangeness of being a model – the terrible consciousness of one's surface self, of the mass of thoughts going on inside the outer carapace, of the disassociation of mind and body. And above all, the peculiar sense that one's looks may be perceived as a surrogate of oneself, just as much as a portrait.

A vain man would never have confessed to everything that Gayford regards as vanity: his disappointment when another portraits gets last-minute attention for a show; his anxiety about whether his ear hair, "protruding in the manner of the late Leonid Brezhnev" will be noticed and recorded for ever. Worrying about a roll of flesh beneath his chin, he keeps trying to tilt it up, hoping Freud won't notice. But he does. It becomes a game of grandmother's footsteps.

The tension ratchets as Gayford yearns for the sittings to come to an end and Freud grows jumpier at the prospect. Few artists have anything very interesting to say on the subject of ending, but Freud does: "The painting's done when I have the sensation I am painting someone else's picture."

After six months, Gayford brightens with hope. "I can imagine this picture finished now." "Oh, can you?" responds Freud. "I can't." The writer goes home, despairing that it will never end because of the unceasing problems caused by the royal blue of his scarf. His wife points out that he has been absent-mindedly wearing two, of different hues.

Gayford's wife also recognises a characteristic darkness of mood in the portrait that he does not. Nor, I suspect, will the reader, by now accustomed to his amiability. The painting is tinged with a smile, but otherwise weighed down with paint, flesh and gravity. Gayford feels it is "me looking at him looking at me", which is only the truth of most eye-to-eye portraits. But what exactly has Freud observed? The eyes are directed outwards but given neither sight nor focus.

A painting or a portrait, a life study or an individual: Man with a Blue Scarf is as slippery a Freud as ever. It is neither a character study nor an exacting likeness (despite Freud's assertion that "What we look like is what we are".) Indeed, the memoir reveals far more about the artist and his model than the portrait, as you might expect. For the painting itself is what matters. "You're here," Freud tells his sitter, "to help it." And so he does, helping it to become a painting of an anonymous man in a blue scarf – another Lucian Freud.


Laura Cumming's A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits has just been published in paperback by HarperPress.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:45 pm

Lucian Freud obituary

Master of figurative painting who related to his subjects' characters through stark portraiture

Catherine Lampert The Guardian, Friday 22 July 2011


Lucian Freud with Martin Gayford in 2010. Photograph: David Dawson

The original, unnerving, sustained artistic achievement of Lucian Freud, who has died aged 88, had at its heart a wilful, restless personality, fired by his intelligence and attentiveness and his suspicion of method, never wanting to risk doing the same thing twice. The sexually loaded, penetrating gaze was part of his weaponry, but his art addressed the lives of individuals, whether life models or royalty, with delicacy and disturbing corporeality.

Freud had a reputation for pushing subjects to an extreme. But unlike the American painters to emerge in the 1950s, his approach was in the western tradition of working from life and brought about with painstaking slowness, rather than unleashed virtuosity. Photographs taken in the studio by his assistant, model and good friend, the painter David Dawson, show Freud working from a roughly sketched charcoal form, the paint slowly spreading outwards from the head. Some canvases were extended, others abandoned while still a fragment.

Portraits of his maturity drew comparisons with equally shocking works by Courbet, Titian and Picasso, the feelings exposed registering as both brash and profound. The recorded stages of Ria, Naked Portrait 2006–07, his last large female nude, indicate the suspenseful build-up of pigment on her toe and the radiator; heavy incretions represent her curls and flushed face.

By 1987, the critic Robert Hughes nominated Freud as the greatest living realist painter, and after the death of Francis Bacon five years later, the sobriquet could be taken as a commendation, or it could imply an honour fit for an anachronistic "figurative" artist working in London. Art critics since Freud's first shows in the 1940s have had difficulties situating his achievement; the common solution has been to apply adjectives to the painted subjects in a way that reflects little more than personal taste, the writers telling readers whether the person portrayed was bored or intimidated, scrawny or obese, the paint slathered, crumbly or miraculously plastic.

Others, however, eschew this moralising tone and are prepared to be startled. Aidan Dunne, for example, reviewing the exhibition in Dublin in 2007, recognised how a single blonde model, "unmistakably" herself, in 1966 led Freud to push "the bounds of decorum in terms of mainstream depictions of the human body considered not as a generic type but as, to use his own term, a "naked portrait". Freud painted three versions of this fine-boned young woman on a cream cover, seen from above, each one a masterpiece. Her pictorial availability seems to some degree predicated on the artist's subtle way of incorporating in his paint strokes the upheavals and new perils that would enliven traditional gender relationships.

Freud was born in Berlin, to Ernst Freud, an architect and youngest son of the great psychoanalyst Sigmund, and Lucie Brasch. The family lived near the Tiergarten, with summers spent on the estate of Freud's maternal grandfather, a grain merchant, or at their summer house on the Baltic island of Hiddensee.

Realising the Nazi threat to Jews, his parents, Lucian and his brothers – Stephen and Clement – moved to England in the summer of 1933. At Dartington Hall, Devon, and then Bryanston, Dorset, Freud was preoccupied by horses and art rather than the classroom. He enrolled at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, in January 1939 but found the laid-back atmosphere repellent and rarely attended classes.

From 1939 to 1942 he spent periods at the unstructured school founded by Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines in East Anglia, first in Dedham, Essex, and then at Hadleigh, Suffolk. Morris proved a sympathetic mentor, one whose confidence and application gave Freud a sense of what it might mean to be an artist. In March 1941 Freud signed on as an ordinary seaman on the armed merchant cruiser SS Baltrover, bound for Nova Scotia. The ship came under attack from air and then by submarine, and on the return journey he went down with tonsillitis.

By the age of 18, the charismatic, talented young man with a famous name had attracted friends such as Stephen Spender and the wealthy collector and patron Peter Watson. Freud began visiting Paris, first in 1946 while on his way to Greece, where he stayed for six months, and again in 1947, with Kitty Garman, niece of his previous girlfriend Lorna Wishart, daughter of Jacob Epstein and the subject of one of the first major paintings, Girl in a Dark Jacket 1947. His connections in Paris extended to people linked to the arts in the 1930s, such as the hostess and collector Marie-Laure de Noailles.

The handful of surviving postcards contain no mention of postwar deprivations as he offers Méraud Guinness Guevara witty accounts of the installation of André Breton's surrealist exhibition in Paris in 1947, designed by Marcel Duchamp and Frederick Kiesler, and thanks for her hospitality in Provence. Freud expresses admiration for the "malevolence" the French showed to foreigners.

On familiar terms with Alberto Giacometti and Balthus, and, to some degree, Picasso, the young Freud, one senses, was marked for life by seeing how single-mindedly, and self-critically, these already famous artists pushed forward their art. When he moved in 1943 to Delamere Terrace on the Grand Union canal, the first of five addresses in Paddington, London, several of his Irish working-class neighbours became models, especially the brothers Charlie and Billy. A large picture with a spiky palm tree and a tense, young Eastender, Harry Diamond, comprises a poignant drama about survival, Interior in Paddington 1951.

Paintings of Freud's two wives – Garman (whom he married in 1948 and divorced four years later) and Caroline Blackwood (whom he married in 1953 and divorced in 1957) – and other intimate friends are filled with suspense and pain, apparent in the strands of hair and a hand raised to the cheek as much as the wide eyes. The pearly skin of these subjects becomes more translucent and the detail extra-perfect. In an article written in 1950, the critic and curator David Sylvester questioned the perversity of feeling in Freud's latest portrayals. "It is impossible to say whether this indicates the incipient decline of an art whose talent flowered remarkably early or simply that every new departure implies growing-pains."

By the time of the Venice Biennale in 1954 – Freud shared the British pavilion with Bacon and Ben Nicholson – the question of prodigy versus an ultimately significant artist was being argued regularly. Freud's only involvement with the art colleges came though accepting William Coldstream's invitation to join the new staff at the Slade in 1949 (he made occasional appearances in the studios until 1954).

It became convenient to account for shifts in Freud's work by focusing on his early reliance on drawing and to cite the influence of painters from northern Europe such as Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Albrecht Dürer, or even to suggest a false comparison with the Neue Sachlichkeit painters (active in Germany in the 1920s but unknown to the young Freud) and overlook others as relevant as Paul Cézanne and Chaim Soutine. The significance of the change from sable to hogs' hair brush and flake white to Kremnitz white in the late 1950s was exaggerated. Freud was attracted to Bacon's merciless wit and risk-taking, admiring his impulsive handling of paint, yet curiously it was Bacon who tried repeatedly to fix an image of his younger friend's physical magnetism.

By the end of the 1950s Freud's fraught personal life contributed to a visual restlessness, and he began standing to paint, letting the raked perspective exaggerate the anatomies of his subjects. A greenish-yellow palette and vein-marked skin made the subjects, such as Woman Smiling 1958-59, superficially less attractive; the paintings exhibited at the Marlborough Gallery in London in 1958 and 1963 were harder to sell.

Freud's obsession with gambling on horses and dogs brought on debts and dangerous threats, although many of the most singular paintings are of fleshly men within the racing fraternity. The journalist Jeffrey Bernard, describing Freud's afternoons in the betting shop and evenings with the rich and distinguished (including "Princess Margaret's set"), wrote admiringly: "He has cracked the nut of how to conduct a double life." The artist's slightly leering face and naked shoulders appear between the fronds of a giant Deremensis, Interior with Plant, Reflection Listening 1967–68. A superb, dangerously over-worked, standing self-portrait, Painter Working, Reflection 1993 portrays the ageing artist wearing only unlaced boots, holding a palette and knife (he was left-handed), addressing the viewer like a silent actor; invariably paint applied imaginatively to the planes of walls and floor reads as though a leitmotif for the prevailing mood. Each millimetre, he insisted, had to become essential to the whole.

In the 1980s the bodies of the nudes pressed into the surrounding space, their three-dimensionality and almost modelled impasto describing deeply contoured forms like those within Freud's favourite bronzes by Rodin – Naked Balzac and Iris. Freud spoke of his curiosity about "the insides and undersides of things".

The reserved Bella Freud placed diagonally on a red sofa (1986) is one of the artist's masterpieces. Leigh Bowery and Freud had a mutually sustaining friendship that went on until just before the performance artist succumbed to an Aids-related illness at the end of 1994. Bowery's "wonderfully buoyant bulk was an instrument I felt I could use in my painting"; "yet it's the quality of his mind that makes me want to portray him". In front of Titian's Diana and Actaeon in 2008, he explained: "When something is really convincing, I don't think about how it was done, I think about the effect on me."

Several paintings approach allegory revisited as parody, beginning with Large Interior, W9 1973 (his mother and his lover), and the heavily promoted Large Interior W11 (After Watteau) 1981–83, with its awkward (and memorable) conjunction of five people from the artist's intimate life. Sitters sometimes came separately, as with Evening in the Studio, where the model Sue Tilley sprawls on the floor in the pose of seaside postcards with captions such as "Roll over Betty". The shuttered interior in Freud's house in Notting Hill was recorded in several large paintings, one now in a Dallas museum: a long-time friend, Francis Wyndham, sits reading in the foreground, whippet at his feet, and in the space beyond, a hybrid Jerry Hall/David Dawson nurses her son.

Annabel Mullen was painted with her shaggy-haired dog Rattler and reappears seven years later with a pregnant belly in Expecting the Fourth 2005 (only 10x15cm), and in a larger etching, limbs still like a thoroughbred, as described by one of Freud's favourite authors, Baudelaire: "vainly have time and love sunk their teeth into her".

Freud's exceptional ability to convey tactile information is evident in early drawings, especially those of gorse sprigs, a dead heron and a bearded Christian Bérard in a dressing gown. A similarly heightened, highly poetic, sensibility invades the etchings that began in the 1980s, black whorls and stippled textures fanatically worked, the artist relishing the "element of danger and mystery" that accompanies slipping a heavily worked plate into acid.

International exposure increased after the 1974 Hayward exhibition, nurtured by Freud's admirers, particularly William Feaver, curator of a Tate retrospective in 2002, and the dealer James Kirkman. The revival of interest in painting that emerged around 1980 led to outstanding British artists being ringfenced with an inappropriate label, the School of London. Freud thought his close friend Frank Auerbach the best British painter of his lifetime. Auerbach understood how no original concept or idiom could be credited with the mesmerising reality of art: "I think of Lucian's attention to his subject. If his concentrated interest were to falter, he would come off the tightrope. He has no safety net of manner."

A retrospective organised by the British Council reached Washington, Paris, London and Berlin in 1987–88, and the "recent work" exhibition created by the Whitechapel Gallery in 1993 drew crowds in New York and Madrid as well as the East End. Freud's representative from 1993, William Acquavella, had a buoyant, unwavering reckoning of the artist's worth – in others words in the league of 20th-century masters. In 2007 the Museum of Modern Art in New York organised an exhibition with great impact, titled The Painter's Etchings, Freud's place in postwar art history admitted through a side-door rather than placed in the canon.

The completion of a single picture turned into a newsworthy event. In 1993 a Daily Mail front-page headline asked: "Is this man the greatest lover in Britain?" A disconcerting recent painting, the artist working while "surprised by a naked admirer", fed readers' curiosity about the octogenarian's love life. The rather sensational Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995) achieved a record auction price for a living artist in May 2008, £17m, by which time Russian oligarchs had joined the wealthy North American collectors who had already replaced upper-class British patrons. The promotion of pictures at auction sometimes gave unfortunate prominence to the failures, notably the truncated picture of a pregnant Kate Moss.

The artist related his acceptance of honours – the CH in 1983 and the OM in 1993 – to his family's debt to Britain, the country that allowed them naturalisation in 1939. Freud described the move to England as "linked to my luck. Hitler's attitude to the Jews persuaded my father to bring us to London, the place I prefer in every way to anywhere I've been."

Queen Elizabeth II sat for a small portrait in 2001 which Freud donated to the Royal Collection. He selected the pictures for the important Constable exhibition that opened in Paris in 2002, respecting the artist's "truth-telling. The way he used the undergrowths to suit himself – things being soaked in water and so on – was a way of looking at nature that no one had really done before."

The portraits Freud made of his mother, beginning in 1972 and ending with a drawing from her deathbed in 1989, are a remarkable elegy of ageing and depression. When his children (15 or so were recognised) began leading independent lives, most of them came to sit for him and he was proud of their talents. Bella Freud is a fashion designer and four others are successful writers – Annie Freud, Esther Freud, and Rose and Susie Boyt. Contrary to what has been written about anonymity, the identities of at least 168 sitters have been revealed in various interviews, commentaries and published information.

Thinking about the women who were closest to him for the longest duration, one realises how reticent they preferred to be, particularly Baroness Willoughby d'Eresby and Susanna Chancellor. Any biography of the artist that is written with the claim to analyse character or feelings is doomed.

The list of those he knew and affected would be enormous (and incomplete), the narratives lopsided, with anecdotes and memoirs exaggerating their author's familiarity. Freud's own, sharp recollections are both exciting and skewed. He recently spoke of how it amused him to hold the heads of schoolmates under water, but his occasional violence was countered by a precise, rather Germanic use of language and good manners.

An admitted control freak, who lived alone and liked to use the telephone but not give out his number, Freud kept relationships in separate compartments. He lived with the same aesthetic as that of his work – fine linen, worn leather, superb works of art (and a few cartoons), buddleia and bamboo in the overgrown garden and the residue of paint carried down from the studio. In this setting, he sustained until the end his ability to make portrayals of many of the people and animals who mattered to him (the one still on the easel, Portrait of a Hound), paintings that face-to-face are all-consuming and oddly liberating.

• Lucian Michael Freud, artist, born 8 December 1922; died 20 July 2011

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:19 am

Memorial service planned for Freud

July 23, 2011


A memorial service will be held for Lucian Freud, seen here in his work Self Portrait with a Black Eye

A memorial service will be held for the artist Lucian Freud after a private family funeral.

The British painter, a towering figure in the art world for more than 50 years, died on Wednesday after an illness at the age of 88.

His lawyer Diana Rawstron said: "The funeral will be private and for the family only. There will be a memorial service at a date to be announced."

No date has been set for either event yet.

Meanwhile, a former muse of Freud said sitting for him had a "fantastic" effect on her life.

Sue Tilley, who sat for the nude Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, said she cried when she heard the news of his death.

Freud gave her several etchings, which are potentially worth thousands of pounds, but Ms Tilley said money was not an issue.

She said: "Money's not really important. Don't you think in life sometimes experience is more important than financial gain? Because of this painting I've had fantastic experiences."

The portrait is characteristic of Freud's unflinching style, but Ms Tilley said she watched the work being painted and so was not surprised by it.

"I saw it all the time because it's so huge, you would see it while he was painting it," she said. "He's not behind it, so it's in front of you the whole time, so I got very much used to it."

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:40 pm

Lucian Freud remembered by Sally Clarke

For 15 years, the great artist took breakfast and lunch at Sally Clarke's cafe-restaurant. Here, she recalls the man she fed… and eventually sat for

Sally Clarke

The Observer, Sunday 11 December 2011


'Intense': Working at Night, 2005, a photograph by Freud's assistant David Dawson, shows the artist at work in his London studio. Photograph: David Dawson/ courtesy of Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert

Mr Freud started coming to the little cafe at the back of my shop about 15 years ago. I didn't know it then, but he worked close by in a studio in Holland Park, so we were quite convenient for him. Soon after this, he bought a house a few doors along the street from us and from then on became more and more of a regular. He would come for breakfast and lunch often, bringing with him whoever he was working with at the time – Leigh Bowery, Kate Moss, David Hockney.

There came a time, however, when I realised that there was a risk that he might be bothered in the cafe, so I decided to offer him a table in the restaurant, which was empty at that time of day, and at the same time I could make sure that he was somewhat "wrapped in cotton wool". I should say that he never asked for this special treatment.

If David Dawson, his studio assistant and model, was with him, breakfast tended to be centred around a pile of newspapers – but he would be perfectly happy by himself. What he ate for breakfast with us changed over the years, but it was Earl Grey tea in the beginning with milk and a huge pain aux raisins – the size of a saucer – which he devoured easily. As the years went on, he graduated to coffee, a sort of latte which we called a Mr Freud latte, being even milkier than normal.

Often, he would invite me to join him and David – I loved watching him enjoy the little Portuguese custard tarts that we make. He had a very sweet tooth. Sometimes, he would consume a whole bar of our homemade nougat – at breakfast time! Occasionally, I'd make him scrambled eggs with toast; at weekends, he would come in for brunch.

For lunch, he would always choose fish – whichever fish was on the menu. He was very interested in food and I think he was a good cook himself. He loved game and I remember one day Brigadier Parker Bowles brought him some partridge from the weekend shoot and he threw them straight into the oven and ate them the following day.

The first time we spoke properly was soon after he had moved house. He came to the restaurant one afternoon and asked to see me. He told me that he was having problems with his neighbours and wanted some planning permission advice. I'm not sure why he asked me, but what struck me more than anything, aside from just how charming, polite and lovely he was, was his German accent. It was dramatic – very guttural and individual.

I sat for him for three works. For the first painting, David Dawson asked to see me alone at my restaurant one morning. "Lucian is wondering if you would like to sit for him." This came as an enormous shock, but a few months later I was sitting in one of the most famous chairs in the world, looking through tall, wide French windows, into and over buddleia, bamboo hedges, a fig tree and bay trees. I had somehow imagined the house to be filled with music, but other than an abundance of sweet-smelling flowers, the house was filled with silence, concentration, thinking and looking – intent looking.

Within a short time, I learned the signals he gave; his hand moved to the top of his head equalled "move the top of your head over a fraction". His hand sweeping in front like an elegant tennis forehand meant "adjust the angle of your head very slightly". It was about detail, detail, detail. For such fine work, of face, hair or eyelid, the brush size seemed huge and yet the strokes on the canvas were light, delicate and few.

I had planned to spend my "sitting" time writing future menus in my head, checking my diary or making "to do" lists during the rest periods, but I soon realised that I was wishing to work as hard, and as intensely, as he was. This was a partnership: one giving and the other taking, but that taking was also giving – giving his all, and in return for the sitter's giving, a most special, unique and privileged experience was received.

The painting was finished three years ago, and very soon after this I sat for what was to be an etching, but he decided to keep drawing and drawing on the plate instead, so it was never etched. Then he started on another head and shoulder painting on canvas, which was about half finished, I think, when we stopped working, only a few weeks before his death.

Of course I miss him. I got very used to seeing him every day. Arriving in the morning, I would often walk past the restaurant and see him through the window, already sitting having breakfast and he would wave with his arms high above his head.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:08 am

Lucian Freud's final work to be shown in 2012 National Portrait Gallery show

Unfinished nude portrait of artist's assistant David Dawson will feature alongside 100 other works spanning 70-year career

Mark Brown, arts correspondent

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 20 September 2011 18.17 BST


Lucian Freud's whippet Eli sits in front of the artist's last painting photographed three months before his death. Photograph: David Dawson/Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert Gallery

Lucian Freud's final work – an enormous and unfinished nude portrait of his assistant and close friend, David Dawson, with Dawson's whippet, Eli – will be shown for the first time next year.

It will feature prominently in a major 2012 exhibition covering seven decades of the artist's probing, distinctive portraiture.

The National Portrait Gallery on Tuesday revealed details of what will be a blockbuster, with more than 100 works filling most of the ground floor gallery space. The exhibition, the first major show to focus on Freud's portrait work, had been planned in close partnership with the artist, who died aged 88 in July.

His final work was, said curator Sarah Howgate, "a commanding and affectionate" portrait of a man who had been the artist's assistant for 20 years.

It shows a naked Dawson looking up, with his dog relaxing nearby. It had been known by Freud as both Davidscape and Portrait of the Hound, with the latter winning out.

Howgate recalled having breakfast with Freud three weeks before his death and hearing how excited he was by the picture.

"Never has Freud's phrase, 'a human is an animal with his clothes off,' seemed more relevant," she said.

"Freud said that he knew Dawson better than anyone else. He'd been his most consistent model, they shared a mutual understanding, a respect for one another and a love of painting."

Sandy Nairne, director of the NPG, said he went to see Freud soon after London won the Olympics and put the idea of a big 2012 portraiture show to him. "He responded extremely warmly and positively to that proposition," he said.

The show will include works that have become familiar for a variety of reasons.

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, for example, became known for excess – setting a world record auction price of $34m (£22m) when it sold to Roman Abramovich in 2008.

It will be in the show along with three other depictions of the sitter, Sue Tilley – or "Big Sue".

Through his career, Freud befriended and painted an enormous cast of characters – from the aristocracy to the criminal underworld to the world of celebrity.

Sitters represented in the show will include the performance artist Leigh Bowery and fellow painters such as David Hockney, Frank Auerbach and Francis Bacon.

Howgate said the exhibition was not aiming to be a biography. It would be, she said, "a life represented in paint, rather than a biographical retrospective".

But it will inevitably illuminate corners of the artist's fascinating existence, not least his complicated love life – he had numerous relationships resulting in 12, 13, 14 or 40 children, depending on which account of his life you read.

The show will include four "psychologically charged" portraits of his first wife Kitty Garman, the daughter of sculptor Jacob Epstein.

In one, Girl with Roses, a pregnant Garman is seen sitting holding a winter rose. It is a tender, forensic painting and very different to one of her painted two years later called Girl with a White Dog, in which the "atmosphere appears to be less comfortable". They separated a few weeks later.

A year on, Freud painted his second wife, the very young looking Caroline Blackwood, "in all her wide-eyed innocence".

By 1958 he was painting his pupil Suzy Boyt – later mother of five of his children – who became one of the few sitters to smile during what could be long and gruelling sessions.

There will be plenty of nudes in the show, old and young, slim and big.

Howgate said of one, a very direct portrait of a naked girl, that comparisons could be drawn with Gustave Courbet's L'Origine du Monde, an 1866 closeup of a woman's genitals that proved so controversial it was not exhibited until 1988. "Perhaps, although painted 40 years ago, Naked Girl still has the power to shock in 2011."

There will also be examples of his more private paintings, including a portrait of his friend and riding companion Andrew Parker-Bowles – a very informal portrait of a man in formal household cavalry brigadier uniform.

Freud makes no concessions for friendship – Parker-Bowles's flabby paunch is bursting out and he has a mournful, vulnerable look which "contrasts with the outward splendour of the costume and medals". It is, said Howgate, "a reflection on the ageing military man".

One of the real coups for the show is a work from 1981-83, Large Interior, W11 (after Watteau), which has not been seen in the UK since the last big Freud show, at Tate Britain in 2002.

It is a big painting of five people – including Boyt and Freud's daughter Bella – executed in spite of a stiff painting arm. "It was the fear that he might never be able to paint on this scale again that drove him on," said Howgate.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:17 am

Lucian Freud etchings to go on sale

Forty-five prints, each estimated to fetch up to £70,000, will be auctioned next month

Maev Kennedy

The Guardian, Tuesday 3 January 2012


A Lucian Freud etching entitled Lord Goodman in his Yellow Pyjamas is included in the Christie's sale. Photograph: Christie's/PA

A collection of etchings by the late Lucian Freud, assembled by Magar Balakjian, the master printer with whom the artist worked for more than a quarter century, will be auctioned next month, with each of the 45 works estimated at up to £70,000.

The prints are based on Freud's sketches – made in natural light rather than the unflattering, raking artificial light of most of the oil paintings – of the subjects of many of his most famous portraits. Freud sketched them directly on to copper plates, and took intense interest in every detail of the printing process.

The prints include Woman Sleeping, estimated at up to £50,000, an image of Sue Tilley – subject of one of Freud's most famous paintings, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, which set a new world record for his work when it sold for £20.6m in 2008.

There are also images of his daughter Bella; Pluto, one of his beloved whippets; and Lord Goodman, former chairman of the Arts Council – the only print which Freud coloured, with yellow watercolour to his subject's pyjamas.

The collection will be exhibited at the Museum of Mankind in London from 16-27 January, and auctioned at Christie's on 15 February.

Balakjian said they had become good friends over the years they worked together. "His work was always exceptional, but his character so informal that you would never know he was one of the most important living artists of the time," he said.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:36 pm

Jane McAdam Freud: a farewell to my father

As Lucian Freud lay on his deathbed, his daughter Jane dealt with her grief by capturing him in sketches and sculptures. As the works go on show, she talks about their relationship

Simon Hattenstone

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 18 January 2012 21.31 GMT


Family ties ... Jane McAdam Freud, with a sculpture of her father, Lucian Freud. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Jane McAdam Freud is staring at a sculpture of her father Lucian. Seen from one side, he is dead: eyes and mouth closed, serene. From the other, he is very much awake: eyes staring, mouth concentrated, face animated. And from the front, he looks rather ferocious. Jane calls the sculpture – for which Lucian sat (or lay) while he was in bed dying – a triptych. It's a beautiful work: playful, moving, eerie.

Lucian first sat for his daughter in 1991. Back then, she sculpted him and he sculpted her, and they spent the whole time nervously dancing round each other; they had just been reunited. This time it was different. She was in control. She began these works as a way of chronicling his life; they became an act of remembrance, but she had never considered an exhibition until Channel 4's Jon Snow saw them, and told her it would be selfish to keep them from the public. Anyway, her father had said they would end up on display. "He said, 'Jane, I've seen your work and it's good, and all good work becomes public.' He'd constantly give these backhanded compliments."

The forthcoming show, at London's Freud Museum (named after her great-grandfather Sigmund), consists of portraits in a variety of materials: from intimate drawings to imprinted copper coins, from Plasticine impressions to that giant terracotta triptych reflected in a mirror. Jane asks me to look at the back of one of the tiny copper portraits. "What d'you see?" she demands. Eventually, I make out the word EARTH. "And what d'you see in the EARTH?" I stare some more before shouting ART triumphantly. She giggles, delighted. "Exactly. I wanted to put something about what his life was about, what the centre of his world was."

Jane lives in a modest-looking house with her husband and two adult children (from his previous marriage) in north-west London. Inside, it opens up into something surprisingly spacious, with a massive studio at the bottom of the garden. There's something instantly likable about her: she's warm and talkative, funny and vulnerable, dizzy and ditzy: she'd make a great Mike Leigh character. Like her father, she has something of the bird of prey about her: beakish face, staring hawkish eyes. On her desk is a quote by the US education reformer Horace Mann: "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." She smiles. "It doesn't have to be some big victory," she says. "Just a little thing."

Since Lucian died, she has dedicated her work to him, largely as a means of exploring their relationship. And what an astonishing relationship it was. Until she was eight, Lucian, who is known to have fathered at least 14 children, was a huge part of her life. She was one of four children born to Lucian and Katherine McAdam, who met at Central Saint Martins College of Art. The beginning of their relationship was classic Freud: Katherine had won a competition to find the London college's most beautiful student; Lucian thought it was his right to dance with her. They never married, but it was the closest the great portrait painter ever came to having a regular relationship.

Katherine and their four children had a home in Paddington, while Lucian lived nearby. He was always around; when he wasn't, the kids thought he was at his studio. Everything seemed just fine to young Jane. Her parents never argued, she says, but towards the end of their relationship, it became apparent that something was wrong. "There were times Mum wouldn't let him in the house. I remember him saying, 'Why won't your mum let me in?' She'd be trying to distance herself, get on with her life."

Katherine, herself a talented artist, found a career as a designer. Then one day she packed up without warning, moved the children to Roehampton in south-west London, and Jane didn't see her father again until she was 31. "Twenty-three years!" I exclaim. She looks astonished. "Is it?" And she counts them out: eight to 31. "Yes, it is 23 years." Her mother dropped Freud from the family name, and told her children to get on with rebuilding their lives. "When we moved on, I was screaming and kicking, absolutely gutted that I was being taken away." Bit by bit, she discovered what her father had been like, though, and why her mother had taken such drastic action.

"I remember talking to my mum about it, about these complicated things, and she was quite clear. She'd say, 'Well obviously he's very intense, Jane.' She said, 'You know I couldn't live with him full-time because I'd have no energy left. Too intense.'" And then there were the affairs. For her mother, the relationship was monogamous and pure; for Lucian, it was anything but. "My mum just couldn't take it any more. Maybe it was the betrayals, other women I suppose, other children."

For many years, she was known as Jane McAdam. It's simple, she says: she was in denial of the Freud bit. As Jane McAdam, she discovered art, went to St Martins, then to the Royal College of Art, got herself a masters, bursaries and scholarships around the world. Jane, now 53, knew she wanted to be an artist from the age of three, when she first played with water in a sandpit and discovered sculpture. Not that she knew its name.

For her mother, the Freud name was an albatross: not so much Lucian, who was still a struggling painter when they separated, but Sigmund. Katherine wanted her children to live their lives on their own terms. As Jane became successful, she convinced herself she didn't need anything else. "I was busy making my work and having successes in my own right. I didn't need anything more than that. I was completely driven and in love with art."

So she didn't think about her father during these years? She gives me one of those intense Freudian stares. "Well, I read about him increasingly in the press. I was in turmoil. Turmoil." Why? "Well, that's my father, nobody knows. Imagine living like that: it was torture." Why did she want people to know? "I didn't, but I wanted to be me. I wanted to feel more of who I was. I wanted to renew my relationship with him." What did she feel? "Longing and yearning," she says. In her head, she would fantasise about their reunion; she felt incomplete, dishonest, bewildered.

Lucian made no attempt to get in touch with his four children through Katherine. Nor did they try to get in touch with him: Jane says she was terrified of rejection.

In 1991, Jane was awarded the Freedom of the City of London for her work. To receive the award, she had to present her birth certificate, which not only gave her full name but also her father's name and occupation. "They went, 'We've discovered you!'" The press attention that ensued proved a mixed blessing. Strangely, she found it more difficult to get shows and commissions; people who had once loved her work began to doubt her, thinking she was somehow tainted by her father or hanging on to his coat-tails. But in another way it made her: she embraced her new identity – and rediscovered her father.

They met for dinner. She was terrified, couldn't eat a thing. He just stared at her. She loved him, was in awe of him, but quickly understood what her mother had meant about his intensity. "The intensity is a fantastic thing, exhilarating, but you end up exhausted." In what way was he exhausting – talkative, demanding? No, she says: it was his eyes, his look. "That drowned every inch of yourself. You became gripped by that look and lost in that look that changed constantly. Because of these long gaps between the things he said, you felt you were waiting. Waiting." When was she first aware of that look? "Always! I mean, my boyfriends have been reincarnations."

After that first meeting, she asked him to sit for her, and that led to a year of sculpting each other. Did she feel angry he'd abandoned her? "No. I'm a bit of a dreamer. And I'm an optimist. Philip Pullman said one has a moral responsibility to be more than 50% positive, and I think that's true." Did she ask how he felt about the absence? "He just said he didn't have a family life." She smiles. We're both thinking of the 14 children. "It's an enigma, isn't it?"

The funny thing is, she says, she thinks he would have loved to settle down with one woman. "I think he was very vulnerable." In what way? "He didn't like saying goodbye. It's hard when you're with somebody and they really don't want you to go. I sensed that so much – especially towards the end. That's why you felt so important when you were with him. People loved him, I think, because he genuinely needed people." She checks herself. "But you change, don't you? One minute you need them, the next you don't."

We're looking at the triptych as we talk. "There's almost a reptilian quality," she says. "It's like a cobra. Something that sheds its skin. You can't pin him down. You make up your mind, and then you think no." The thing she loves about the sculpture, she says, is that one eye is open and one closed, just like when he was painting.

Getting back in touch changed pretty much everything in her life; at the very least, she found herself with 10 half-brothers and half-sisters. The reunion also had a dramatic effect on Jane's siblings: all three changed careers, announcing they were now artists. Jane is proud of what they have done, but is confident she is by some way the best. "It takes thousands of hours to understand who you are and what you are doing and what your work is about."

It was so strange, she says, the things she and her father had in common: the stare, the way they clenched their fists, particularly when they walked. And as artists? She thinks about it, and remembers that when Lucian was asked what relationship his portraits bore to their subjects, he would say: "It is them." She shares this desire to embrace reality.

Back in 2001, Jane was commissioned to create a portrait in the form of a medal. "I said, 'Can I do it of you?' He said, 'Oh! Then they will think I'm vain. It would be better to do it later – when it makes sense as a memento mori.' I thought, 'It's not about you, it's about me and us and bonding.'" But in 2011, when he was dying, he finally agreed. And as they sat, they talked about their lives, past and present, together and apart.

She brings out her treasure box and shows me its contents: a newspaper cutting of her mother as a student (she's sad she never realised how special she was); her grandparents (Sigmund's son and his wife); letters from her father in his incredibly childlike handwriting. She tucks it all away again, lovingly and self-consciously. Then she says she'd like to show me something particularly special: photographs of Lucian taken just days before he died, gaunt, bearded, Christ-like, not unlike Turner's death mask.

It was only months before his death, last July, that Jane set to work, reproducing images of her father in any number of forms. She's glad to have turned it all into a show, but insists that was never part of the plan. "There was no thought of exhibiting. Never in a million years. It was private work, part of the grieving process." Yes, she's proud of it all, but she knows it has been a coping mechanism; when he died, she felt like a great tree had been felled. "I was making the work to help myself," she says.

• This article was amended on 20 January 2012. The original said that Jane McAdam Freud found herself with 10 stepbrothers and sisters.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:09 am


Photo Jane Brown.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:10 am


Girl With Roses. Photo British Council.

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Post  eddie on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:12 am


Lucian Freud and Lady Caroline Blackwood leaving Chelsea registry office after their wedding, 9th December 1953. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:15 am


A young Lucian Freud in a studio, 1954. Photograph: Paul Popper/Popperfoto

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:18 am


Girl With a White Dog, 1950. Photo Tate.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:20 am


Lucian Freud in his Studio. Photo Jane Brown.

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:21 am


Lucian Freud's studio in a photograph entitled Naked Admirer. Photograph: David Dawson

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Re: Lucian Freud's flesh decomposes

Post  eddie on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:24 am


Self portrait entitled The Painter Surprised by a Naked Admirer. Photograph: Lucian Freud/AFP/Getty Images

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