Lucian Freud (born 1922)

Lucian Freud was born on the 8th December 1922, the son of Jewish parents Ernst Ludwig Freud, an architect, and Lucie née Brasch. He is the grandson of Sigmund Freud, brother of the late broadcaster, writer and politician Clement Raphael Freud and of Stephan Gabriel Freud, and uncle of radio and television broadcaster Emma Freud.

Freud and his family moved to England in 1933 to escape the rise of Nazism, and became British citizens in 1939.

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, and also at Goldsmiths College - 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. Freud's early paintings are often associated with surrealism and depict people, plants and animals in unusual juxtapositions. These works are usually painted with relatively thin paint, but from the 1950s he began to paint portraits, often nudes, to the almost complete exclusion of everything else, employing a thicker impasto. With this technique he would often clean his brush after each stroke.

Freud's subjects are often the people in his life: friends, family, fellow painters (Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach), lovers, children. As Freud has said: ‘The subject matter is autobiographical, it's all to do with hope and memory and sensuality and involvement, really.’ He has also observed that he ‘works from people that interest me, and that I care about and think about, in rooms that I live and know.’ His mature style and the relentless honesty of his gaze has enabled Freud to pursue a lifelong obsession with uncovering the humanity of his sitter. He has an unquestionably masterful ability to capture mood and psychology. The fusion of attributes and environment used to reflect the sitter’s inner psyche is one of the defining characteristics of Freud’s most powerful and ambiguous work. His most notable exhibitions include a large retrospective at Tate Britain in 2002. In late 2007, a collection of Freud's etchings titled "Lucian Freud: The Painter’s Etchings" went on display at the Museum of Modern Art. In May 2008, his 1995 portrait Benefits Supervisor Sleeping was sold by auction by Christie's in New York City for $33.6 million, setting a world record for sale value of a painting by a living artist.

Lucian Freud lives and works in London and is internationally acknowledged as one of the most important artists working today.

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Lucian Freud

Portrait Head

Portrait Head, 2005

Etching Edition size: 46 Image height 40 cm, width 30 cm