Lucien Freud: The Human Form 1922- 2011
Lucien Freud was the grandson of famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. He was born in Berlin in 1922. Freud was the son of an Austrian Jewish father, Ernst Ludwig Freud, who was an architect, and a German mother. His Jewish family was fled Berlin in 1933. Freud became a British citizen in 1939.
Lucien attended the Dartington Hall School in Totnes, Devon, and later the Bryanston School. Freud briefly studied at the Central School of Art in London then, with greater success, at Cedric Morris' East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham. He also attended Goldsmiths, University of London from 1942–3.
He served as a merchant seaman in an Atlantic convoy in 1941 before being invalided out of service in 1942. In 1943, he illustrated a book of poems by Nicholas Moore called "The Glass Tower." Freud's first solo exhibition was at age 21, at the Lefevre Gallery, featured the well know work, The Painter's Room 1944.
In the summer of 1946, he travelled to Paris and Greece. In the early 1950’s Lucien Freud visited Dublin. He would stay with painter Patrick Swift and they would work together in Swift’s studio. Since the late 1950s, Freud lived and worked in London.
Freud was also a unique printmaker: atypical, dramatic and unusual. He used the etching plate like a canvas, standing the copper on an easel like a painting while he etched on it. He worked directly from his models bodies, etching their form through complicated networks of finely etched lines.
Freud’s style was utterly unique: realistic, distinctive, splashy, fleshy nudes. His work is known for its psychological context, and for its stark examination of the complex and often dysfunctional relationship between artist and model.
There is lots of naked and unadorned flesh in Freud’s portraits. Through the nudes Freud captures his subject, their hopes, and memories, of how they happened to be in the moment that he painted them. Models were anyone he knew, friends, lovers family and portrait sittings were long. Freud would only paint people if he knew them.
He famously fathered dozens of children, and was married several times.
Freud was a member of the Order of Merit - one of Britain's most prestigious chivalry honours. The Order of merit is an award presented to individuals who achieve in the arts, education, literature and science.
Freud’s most famous model was Kate Moss. He painted her in the nude while she was pregnant. He named the painting Naked Portrait 2002. He also painted a portrait of the Queen Elizabeth II - completed in his characteristically uncompromising and unflattering style. Freud passed away in July of 2011.
'I paint people', Freud said, 'not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be'.