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The Painter Lucian Freud

By July 22, 2011

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Painter Lucian Freud Dies

Artist Lucian Freud DiesHow much do I love the paintings of Lucian Freud? Enough that I once flew half-way across the world in 2002 to attend the Tate Britain retrospective. Enough that I once organized a romantic holiday in Venice so it coincided with the Freud retrospective there. Enough that I have a shelf of books and catalogs on his work. Enough that my other half would wake me to tell me he'd died. The world feels smaller to me today.

More on Freud:
Biography: Lucian Freud
Photo Gallery: Lucian Freud The Painter's Etchings
Lucian Freud Paints Queen Elizabeth II
Book Review: Freud at Work
Art Quotes: Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud Obituaries:
New York Times
Freud's Life in Pictures from the Guardian
Financial Times
10 Things You Didn't Know About Freud's Paintings

"A painter must think of everything he sees as being there entirely for his own use and pleasure. ... And, since the model he faithfully copies is not going to be hung up next to the picture, since the picture is going to be there on its own, it is of no interest whether it is an accurate copy of the model." -- Lucian Freud


July 30, 2011 at 9:02 am
(1) Sue mansi says:

Thank you for this, Marion, I, too, am feeling the loss of this amazing artist – the retrospective at the Tate is one of my favourite exhibition memories. Incidentally I have just started painting and I am finding your website the most amazing resource, full of information and inspiration and help. A really thoughfully put together website that I can see I will keep returning to again and again – thank you so much.

July 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm
(2) Edward says:

The first time I visited the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh (now the “Modern Art Two” gallery of the Scottish National Galleries) and saw Freud’s “Two Men” I felt almost thunderstruck. Seeing his work in books and on line is really no substitute for viewing them in person, but even in print or on a computer screen his work is arresting. It should be interesting to see which major gallery wins the scramble to assemble the definitive retrospective encompassing his entire life’s work.

August 1, 2011 at 10:46 am
(3) susan says:

Just wanted to extend my thoughts to you – obviously this wonderful artist was extremely important to you. Always difficult to lose those close to us, but also those who don’t fall into our immediate ‘family/friend’ category. I’m sure Mr. Freud would be quite touched knowing how revered he was in your life.

August 1, 2011 at 11:52 am
(4) Marion BE says:

@Sue — Delighted you enjoy the site! Starting to paint yourself adds a whole new dimension to enjoying art exhibitions, as you see things different than when you’ve never (or not yet) tried to create something yourself.

@Edward — I do hope it’s somewhere in the UK that I can get to relatively easily!

@Susan — That art can speak so strongly to you without you ever knowing the creator is part of its power and wonder, as far as I’m concerned.

August 2, 2011 at 11:44 am
(5) moyra ashford says:

How interesting your passion for his paintings …I am torn, as though I sense the huge presence of his paintings, I feel he did not like flesh and find something perverse about painters who repeatly paint what they do not like. And some of this flesh is ghastly, like corn-fed chicken. Also, having read so many obituaries, it seems he had a cruel nature, treating women horribly. And what a privileged, indulgent life…well, in general I find it hard to separate the life from the art, even if the art is bold. I hate Dali, love Rembrant, yet love Picasso (despite his serial mistreatment of women) because of Guernica, anti-fascism and just because of his huge variety and endless energy. Not sure one can say the same of Freud. Do you think the art v. the life lived is worthy of a discussion?

August 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm
(6) About.com Guide to Painting says:

It depends whose point of view you read; certainly I don’t think individuals would have modelled for him multiple times if it had been a hideous experience. Unhappy marriage; he’s hardly unique in that. Demanding of his models; you’d expect that from someone who looked at things as intensely as he did.

I don’t believe the “he didn’t like flesh” — he chose to paint figures in this style later in his career. His earlier work is quite different, prettier and more conventionally beautiful. He’s looking at flesh and the colours in skin the way Monet did at lilyponds. Most flesh is anything but pretty, uniform in colour or smooth; that’s why magazines and films use so much makeup and retouching.

Ultimately it’s the art that survives, though the life behind it does influence how we feel about it. Learning something you don’t like about an artist doesn’t change the artwork, it changes your perception, and might that not say more about oneself than the artist?

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