Friday, July 22, 2011
Born in Berlin on 8 December 1922, the British painter Lucian Freud passed away at the age of 88 this Wednesday night, July 20, due to unspecified illness at his home in London.
The artist, known chiefly for his painstakingly created and stylized impasted portrait and figure paintings, was the son of Austrian Jewish father, Ernst Ludwig Freud, an architect, and a German Jewish mother, Lucie née Brasch.
He was a grandson of Sigmund Freud.
To escape the rize of Nazism, Lucian fled with his family to London in 1933 and became a British citizen in 1939.
During his early artistic studies, he briefly fequented the Central School of Art in London. Then, with greater success, he studied at the Cedric Morris' East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham, relocated in 1940 at Benton End near Hadleigh.
In the years of 1942-43, Lucian attended Goldsmiths, University of London.
Commissioned by the Ceylonese editor Tambimuttu, he illustrated a book of poems by Nicholas Moore entitled "The Glass Tower" in 1943.
Lucian Freud had his first solo exhibition in 1944 at the Alex Reid & Lefevre Gallery, entitled "The Painter's Room", where two of his drawings, a stuffed zebra (-cum-unicorn) and a palm tree, used to illustrate Moore's book, reappear.
In his 20's he would apply thin layers of paint to depict people, plants and animals in unusual juxtapositions.
But in the mid-1950's he began to work in portraiture, where nudes would become an almost exclusive subject. It's in this phase that he starts using coarse hog hair and applying looser strokes within an impasto technique that would make his paintings doubtless recognizable.
His first nude was painted in 1966.
Freud's subjects were often the people in his life; friends, family, fellow painters (these included Francis Bacon and David Hockney), lovers, children.
In the 1970s Freud spent 4,000 hours on a series of paintings of his mother.
The artist would often take hundreds of hours to complete his paintings and since he preferred to paint from life, sittings would generally last quite long.
One of the foremost figurative artists of his generation and widely considered the pre-eminent British artist of his time, his art gained a well deserved recognition.
Some of his most well-known paintings include: Interior in Paddington (1951), Girl With a White Dog (1951–52), Naked Girl Asleep II (1968), Naked Man With Rat (1977–78), Reflection (self-portrait) (1985).
In May 2008, his 1995 portrait "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping", depicting a naked portrait of Sue Tilley lying on a sofa, was sold at auction by Christie's in New York City for $33.6 million, setting a world record for sale value of a painting by a living artist.
A retrospective of his work was recently exhibited at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris under the title "L'Atelier."
His work is represented by Acquavella Galleries.
"I want paint to work as flesh," he told his biographer, Lawrence Gowing, in 1982. "As far as I am concerned the paint is the person. I want it to work for me as flesh does."
Lucian Michael Freud, OM, CH (8 December 1922 – 20 July 2011)