This Wednesday, Lucian Freud passed away in his London home at the age of 88. According to Mr. Freud’s dealer, William Acquavella of Acquavella Galleries, Freud suffered a brief illness before his death. Freud’s career is characterized by his thickly-painted portraits of friends and family, which brought forward and repositioned the genre of portraiture in the twentieth century.
More text and images after the jump…
Lucian Freud with Martin Gayford in 2010, via The Guardian
Born on December 8th, 1922, in Berlin, Germany, Lucian Freud, grandson of Sigmund Freud, was raised in England by his father, Ernst Ludwig Freud, and mother, Lucie nee Brasch, where Lucian briefly attended the Central School of Arts and Crafts, then the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing as well as Goldsmiths, University of London. During the early 1950s, he held a position as a Visiting Tutor at the Slade School of Fine Art. Lucian Freud went on to become one of Britain’s most well-known contemporary artists and one of the most well-known artist of the twentieth century, whose dense oil paintings of nudes and portraits stood out with their commitment to traditionalist figurative sentiments, while the main current of modern art was becoming increasingly abstract. Freud’s depiction of his friends, family, neighbors, fellow artists and others were known to contain as much emotional power as the painter himself. They possessed an unique realism that relayed the stress, fatigue, and age that his subjects were unable to escape.
Lucian Freud, Girl in Bed (1952) via Museum Syndicate
In 1948, Lucian Freud married Kitty Garman, daughter of sculptor Jacob Epstein, whom he would later divorce in 1952 and was also the subject of several portraits such as “Girl With Roses” (1947-1948), Girl with a Kitten” (1947), and “Girl With a White Dig” (1950-1951). After his divorce from Kitty in 1952, Freud married Lady Caroline Blackwood the next year, and made her the subject of the painting, “Girl in Bed” (1952). He later divorced Lady Blackwood in 1958. Freud is survived by at least 13 children from his first marriage to Kitty Garman and several romantic relationships.
Lucian Freud, Interior at Paddinton (1951), via British Council
The span of Freud’s career was marked by a range of achievements. His “Interior at Paddington” of 1951 was awarded a prize at the Festival of Britain, and then the Purchaze Prize by the Arts Council of Great Britain. In 1954, Freud, along with Francis Bacon and Ben Nicholson, were selected as the representatives of Great Britain at the Venice Biennale, and in 1974, the Arts Council of Great Britain held a major retrospective of Freud’s work when he was at the age of 52. While in 1989, Freud was put on the short list for the Turner Prize, Lucian Freud was awarded the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 and would be bestowed the honor of painting Queen Elizabeth II in 2001. This portrait of the Queen, one of his most famous works, was described both as “thought-provoking and psychologically penetrating” and “extremely unflattering”, and continues to divide fans and critics today. The following year in 2002, Tate Britain organized another large retrospective of Freud’s work, 28 years after the retrospective at the Arts Council of Great Britain.
Lucian Freud, Queen Elizabeth II (2001), via BBC
Lucian Freud, Ib and Her Husband (1992), via Christie’s
Lucian Freud, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995), via Bloomberg
Freud’s works have fetched impressive and at times record-breaking prices in the art market. His portrait, “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” (1995) was sold at auction by Christie’s in New York City for $33.6 million to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. The sale set a world record for purchase value of a painting by a living artist; the previous record holder was Jeff Koons’ Hanging Heart, which sold for $23.5 million in 2007. The previous auction record for a Freud painting was $19.3 million for “Ib and Her Husband” (1992).
- S. Idowu-Bello
Lucian Freud, Whose Portraits Set Auction Records, Dies in U.K. at Age 88 [Bloomberg]
Freud, the man who revitalised the fine art of portraits, dies [Independent]
Lucian Freud, the foremost figurative artist of his generation, dies aged 88 [Telegraph]
Lucian Freud, Who Recast Art of Portraiture, Dies at 88 [NYTimes]
Realist painter Lucian Freud dies at 88 [AP]
Lucian Freud dies aged 88 [Guardian]