Exhibition Lucian Freud: New Perspectives National Gallery


Exhibition Lucian Freud: New Perspectives National Gallery
Exhibition Lucian Freud: New Perspectives National Gallery

Emily Spicer

“What do I ask of a painting? Lucian Freud once said. “I ask him to astonish, to disturb, to seduce, to convince. Freud, who died in 2011, was a master of modern portraiture and a connoisseur of portraiture tradition. To mark the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth, the National Gallery will organize a major study of his works, drawing from major collections around the world.

Freud was born in Berlin, the son of an architect and grandson of Sigmund Freud. His family moved to London in 1933 to escape the rise of Nazism in Germany. Freud made London his home and became one of the members of the London School, a loosely connected group of artists that included Frank Auerbach and Francis Bacon.

Freud’s early work experimented with surrealism and realism, but his mature style was influenced by the use of impasto oil paints favored by his peers, combined with a realistic bent that spoke to the great tradition of painting. European, from Rembrandt to Corot. But Freud’s hand added a distinctly 20th-century sensibility to the portraiture tradition; most of his subjects lay naked in bare rooms, stripped of the trappings of their lives. Under Freud’s brush, human flesh became textured and meat-like. Violence is done to the subject, who appears naked, rather than naked, made vulnerable but the unfailing eye of the artist.

This exhibition will include more than 60 loans from other galleries, but it is fitting that it will be housed at the National Gallery, where Freud drew so much inspiration. “I use the gallery as if it were a doctor,” Freud told journalist Michael Kimmelman. “I come for ideas and help – to look at situations in paintings, rather than entire paintings. This exhibition will be an unmissable event for lovers of Freud’s work and an ideal introduction to his work for those less familiar with this modern master.


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