Header Photo: Low resolution detail from the haunting, hypnotic & jaw-droppingly beautiful Lucian Freud painting. Girl in a Dark Jacket, 1947. Quite rightly it was used for the cover for the mother of all art books, Lucian Freud - Portraits (2012). Simply a book to own before you die.

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    There is nothing like seeing a Lucian Freud painting in the flesh. For all but the very fortunate, owning one is out of the question so there's no chance of taking your time at home and absorbing a work like a love affair. You know: from gazing at someone and instantly being drawn to someone without a road map instant attraction) to barely been able to take your hands off each other, then living together and, and 40 or 50 years have passed and you realise you love her/him more than ever because they mean something different to that initial attraction - you have grown into each other until you can't say where she begins and he ends, matured together into the older people of your younger selves.

    Anyone living with a work by Freud for 50 years will feel the same emotions though the painting remains the same.

    But it is out of the question for most of us. That is the domain of the rich and powerful, the collectors with pockets as deep as the Pacific Ocean. But you can still find wonderful examples in museums. Take Tate Britain for example. Go and walk through their public galleries. Last time I went I found three or four. What initially strikes you face to face with a Tate Freud is just how small it is. You peer into it and are immediately swept in. Sure, there are bigger paintings on display, some never to be forgotten images like the humongous Spencers, the must see in 3D Auerbachs, the sledgehammer power of the Bacons and the California sunshine easy of the Hockneys, but it's the Freuds and their delicate beauty that stayed with me. It costs nothing to wander through though if you've used the train from far away it might cost you nearly as much as buying a freud. I jest of course but knowing the train prices I'm not jesting as much as you and I would like.

    I've loved Freud's work since discovering his work as a teenager.'It's the way he amplified reality to make it astonishing to look at. For me, there is nothing ugly or fat in his work - just that ability to amplify life in the same way the great American Naive painters did in the 19th century. You know, those massive heads on small bodies, that ability to play with perspective. You never forget seeing them and ditto a Freud. They are life, a body, a life gone by reflected in the contours of the flesh. Everything about Freud is about life. Life for living. There is nothing dead about it.

    L I F E

    lucian freud
    © The Lucian Freud Archive.

    freud /froid/
    Lucian (1922-2011)

    British painter; born in Germany; grandson of Sigmund Freud. His subjects are painted in a powerful naturalistic style.

    Lucian Freud was born in Berlin on December 8, 1922. Ernst, his father, was an architect and the youngest son of the esteemed Sigmund Freud, one of the central figures in the birth of modernity and in the scientific analysis of internal subjectivity. Living in a non-practicing Jewish family surrounded by bourgeois comforts, Freud's early years were simple and untroubled, with plenty of time for his active imagination to wander freely (see Chimneys on Fire, 1928). When Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, though, Ernst and wife Lucie knew it was time to leave, and the family relocated to an attractive neighborhood in London.

    Moving from different prep schools to different art schools, Freud, the self-proclaimed bad boy, learned early on to ride on the coattails of his own talent and lineage. By 1939, after successfully publishing several of his drawings in the progressive magazine Horizon, the 17-year-old Freud was socializing within important British homosexual cliques. These gay peers, including Stephen Spender, Cyril Connolly, and Peter Watson, were the driving forces behind the avant-garde of war-torn London, and Freud began to profess the importance of homosexuality and counter-culturalism in all artistic pursuits. After literally burning his art school to the ground, joining the merchant navy, losing his naval license, getting re-accepted at school, and entertaining the artistic élite with surrealist still life paintings and other adolescent wonders, the natural painter's youthful exploration of art culminated in the exquisite Dead Heron of 1945.

    With the war over and troubled adolescent years behind him, Freud began his relentless pursuit of the elusive, faithful portrait. He began this pursuit by painting his first wife Kitty (married in 1948) again and again. After his divorce, he continued this search by repeatedly painting his second wife Caroline (married in 1952) and a wide group of painters and friends. The results were always uncomfortable, disconcerting, and suggestive of the existential crisis that drove Freud’s work during the early part of his career. Witness the prize-winning picture for the Festival of Britain, entitled Interior, Paddington (1951). As artist and friend Bruce Bernard describes the piece: "Harry [Diamond]’s problematic, if not explicitly threatening, figure is ingeniously and incongruously coupled with one of the most memorable potted plants in the history of art, set in the most solid of plant pots, not quite hallucinatory but enhanced to a disturbing degree. Man and pot are both standing on an unforgettable painted carpet, and only in the view from the window, with the waif on the pavement below, is the curious, still tension -- perhaps necessarily -- dissipated." This is Freud at his young best.

    In 1956, upon realizing that his solitary portraits needed liberating, Freud began exploring the expressionistic chiaroscuro techniques that would illuminate his figures from novel perspectives. His pursuit of the liberated figure, however, would not be fully realized until Freud began in earnest his study of female nude portraiture in 1966. The female nude remains the most powerful and most subversive form in Freud’s work, and the one on which Freud would ultimately expend the majority of his creative genius. Whether his subject is a friend, lover, relative, or one of his own three children, Freud seemed to celebrate the naked body as a whole, covered in light and life, without deceit or cunning, just the uncovered honesty of female flesh.

    1977 saw Freud turn much of his attention to nude males. While the clothed figure (often with downcast eyes, usually sitting or lying) still dominated much of his work, Freud grew extraordinarily concerned with the realistic male form. Man with Rat of 1977 initiated a continued and rigorous search for the best means for communicating reality. Rather than painting a man ageless and frozen, Freud instead presents one stopped along his way, captured for a moment in quiet repose. Freud’s depiction of the realistic male seems to suggest a need for the viewer to witness the contemporary, modern, working persona in his own space, reclined on a bed, or on one of Freud's many sofas. Man’s best friend, the dog, is also seen reclining along with the subject in many of these works. While Freud occasionally shifted his attention to urban landscapes and created pieces in other media besides paint (principally drawing and etching), such works seem to suffer without the depth of fleshy paint employed for his figures.

    One cannot speak of Freud's males without mentioning one of his favorite subjects, Leigh Bowery. The two met at London’s Anthony d’Offay Gallery during a 1990 show that featured the offensive performance artist Bowery; Freud began painting Bowery’s portrait soon thereafter. "I found him perfectly beautiful," said Freud later. Bowery posed for Freud dozens of times over nearly four years, showing an exquisite largeness and a massive power contained within the male form. Bernard writes of the first collaboration between Bowery and Freud (Leigh Bowery Seated, 1990): "Bowery, posing as a huge, insouciant Lord of Misrule, lounges provocatively on his unworthily neat little throne, and seems to be questioning the artist about his conduct of the whole enterprise, while Freud refuses to be daunted by his not entirely mock-imperious sitter." Their relationship brought for Bowery the ironical sense of immortality he’d always desired. When Bowery died of AIDS in 1994, Freud's work seemed to slow.

    The artist, still living and now working in his studio in Holland Park, London, has had several major retrospectives around the world. And just as his patronymic seems to be cited in almost all current essays on cultural criticism, Lucian Freud's own work commands an enormous amount of attention and respect. He is at once considered the greatest and the only Realist painter of the twentieth century, melding the necessity of human information with the subjectivist layers of human feeling.

    Death Announced
    2 0 1 1

    lucian freud
    Sleeping by the Lion Carpet (1996).
    © The Lucian Freud Archive.

    21st July 2011

    Lucian Freud has died aged 88.

    In a statement, New York-based gallery owner William Acquavella said that Freud passed away at home in London (Holland Park) after an illness but gave no further details.

    Some would say 'he grew old disgracefully' but thank heavens he did. What a boring and grey world it will be without him.

    L U C I A N   F R E U D

    lucian freud
    (UK Dvd Reviewed/Buy)

  • He was an intensely private man. Even in the seminal documentary on his work by Frank Auerbach's son, Jake, Lucian Freud - Portraits, you only get a blink-and-miss-him appearance at the end. Throughout his life his pursuit of privacy seemed to be paramount.

  • Freud was a tremendous gambler. He admitted he would spend eight hours at a time in casinos and even received credit from the Kray twins. He claimed at one time he owed them half a million pounds.

  • Recent portraits have included David Hockney. Hockney describes his portraits as " layered that photographs can't get near it...his portraits are among the best around...".

  • Freud works with his subjects on portraits very slowly. Subjects have described the experience of sitting for him as very intense but others have said how he makes them special, that he gives everything to them until the process is over.

  • Freud quote:
    "I paint what I see, not what you want me to see".

  • Freud never flatters his subjects.

  • His work is all about truth and not turning away from it.

  • In 1990 the performance artist Leigh Bowery began to sit for Freud for what would become a series of paintings until Bowery's death in 1994.

  • Likes to keep every strand of his life very seperate, people are placed in different compartments.

  • Freud was said to be worth at least £125 million at the time of his death.

  • In 2008, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, his portrait of JobCentre worker Sue Tilley, sold for £20.6 million - as of July 2011 still a world record sale for a living artist - at Christie's auction house in New York.

  • He had at least 13 children - figures have put the actual figure as high as 40. Three were born in 1961.

  • He became so reclusive that he became to be known as the Hermit of Holland Park.

    Lucian Freud More

    Lucian Freud signed items @ (direct link to signed items and yes they are out there though rare)

    Lucian Freud Dvds @ (direct link)

    Lucian Freud Books @ (direct link)

    Lucian Freud

    Biography    Death

    Gallery    Trivia

    Lucian Freud Set of Postcards

    Lucian Freud - Portraits Book Review

    Lucian Freud - William Feaver (2005) Book Review

    Lucian Freud - Paintings (1989) Book Review

    Lucian Freud - Taschen Book (2007)

    Lucian Freud - Marlborough Exhibition Catalogue, October 1963

    Lucian Freud - Etchings 1946-2004 Book

    Lucian Freud - The Painter's Etchings Book

    Etchings of Lucian Freud - A Catalogue Raisonne 1946-1995 Book

    Lucian Freud - Acqueforti Italian Book

    Lucian Freud by William Feaver Book

    The Glass Tower Illustrated by Lucian Freud Book

    Lucian Freud - Arts Council 1974 Catalogue

    Lucian Freud - Recent Drawings and Etchings 1994 Catalogue

    Lucian Freud - Recent Etchings 1995-1999 Marlborough Graphics Exhibition Catalogue, 1999

    Lucian Freud - Drawings, Selected by William Feaver Book

    Lucian Freud - The Studio Book

    Lucian Freud - Portraits Dvd

    Lucian Freud on Paper Book

    A Painter's Progress: A Portrait of Lucian Freud Book

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