Lucian Freud

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Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud (born December 8, 1922 in Berlin , † July 20, 2011 in London ) was a British painter. He was one of the most important portrait painters of the 20th century. In 2004 the art critic Robert Hughes described him as "Britain's greatest living painter".

life and work

Lucian Freud was one of three sons of the Austrian architect Ernst Ludwig Freud and Lucie Freud, born in a Berlin merchant family. Brasch and the grandson of Sigmund Freud . The family lived in the Tiergarten district of Berlin on Matthäikirchplatz . Lucian Freud attended the French grammar school in Berlin . The family emigrated to England in 1933 . In 1939 Freud took British citizenship.

School and education

He attended Dartington Hall School in Devon and Bryanston School in Dorset , from which he was expelled after a year due to disciplinary problems. At the age of 16, he was admitted to the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London for a few months between 1938 and 1939 .

Benton End House

Between 1939 and 1941 he took courses at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham , founded by Cedric Morris , which moved to Benton End House in Suffolk near Hadleigh in 1940 after a bomb hit . In 1941 he was drafted into the merchant navy, but retired after three months and then studied at Goldsmiths College in London until 1943 .

Early work

In 1941 he moved into an apartment on Delamere Terrace, Paddington. Freud lived in Paddington for thirty years before moving to Holland Park in 1977. In 1943 he was commissioned by the editor of the magazine Poetry London , the Anglo-Indian poet and writer Meary James Tambimuttu (1915–1983) to illustrate the volume of poetry The Glass Tower by Nicholas Moore . The volume, for which Freud also designed the title page, contains three color lithographs and a total of 14 drawings of animals that are the result of his animal studies at the London Zoo. They are only loosely related to the poems and give the book the appearance of a modern bestiary . In 1944 Freud had his first solo exhibition at the renowned Lefevre Gallery in London. In 1941 Freud met John Craxton and made friends with him. In 1946 he spent two months at Craxton in Paris, where his first two etchings were made. After an exhibition in Switzerland, Craxton traveled to southern Europe and stayed on the Greek island of Poros from late summer 1946 until spring , where Freud visited him and painted still lifes with lemons, mandarins or thistles under a brilliant southern light, and the two painters each other sketched.

In 1947 Freud met Kitty Garman, a daughter of the sculptor Jacob Epstein, and niece of Lorna Wisharts (1911-2000), with whom Freud had had a long relationship. In the same year he and Kitty Garman, whom he married in 1948, visited the painter Graham Sutherland in Aix-en-Provence . Sutherland, who was also an excellent graphic artist, had meanwhile given up etching and turned to surrealist painting. Sutherland gave Freud his eraser tool. In Aix a. a. the etching Girl with a Fig Leaf , a portrait of his wife with a fig leaf in her hand that covers most of her face. With the illustration of the surrealist novella Equilibriad (1948) by William Sansom (1912–1976), Freud's phase of intensive engagement with drawing ended and he turned increasingly to painting.


In 1949 he took a position as a visiting tutor at the Slade School of Fine Art , where he taught until 1954.

Interior in Paddington
Lucian Freud , 1951
Oil on Ln
152.4 x 114.3 cm
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK

Link to the picture
(please note copyrights )

In 1951 he was involved with his painting Interior in Paddington in the exhibition "Sixty Paintings for '51" as part of the Festival of Britain , for which he was awarded a grant of £ 500 by the Arts Council of Great Britain . The picture was his first large commissioned work and at the same time his first large-format picture. The photographer Harry Diamond (1924–2009), who is a model for Freud for the first time , is shown in a corner of the room , in the company of a dominant potted plant. Both are standing on a red carpet that Freud had bought from a second-hand dealer especially for this picture. The view from the window is of the Grand Union Canal in the London borough known as Little Venice .

In 1952 his affair began with Lady Caroline Blackwood , who came from an Anglo-Irish aristocratic family and whose mother was a member of the Guinness family . At the age of 21 she ran away with Freud to Paris and married him there on December 9, 1953. Back in London she became a center of London bohemianism. In 1957 the marriage ended in divorce. Freud portrayed Caroline several times, e. B. 1952 as Hotel Bedroom. Girl in Bed and 1954 as Girl in a Green Dress .

In 1954 Freud, Bacon and Ben Nicholson were exhibited as a British entry at the Venice Biennale . 22 pictures by Freud were shown. In the following years, Freud received increasing orders from the English aristocracy, which enabled him to live a carefree life. During this time he occasionally stayed in Ireland, where he visited the painter Patrick Swift (1927–1983) in Dublin in his studio, which he also shared with him for a time. In the early 1950s he portrayed the painter John Minton (1917–1957) and in 1951/52 for the first time Francis Bacon - Portrait of Francis Bacon . This picture was stolen from the New National Gallery in Berlin in 1988 and has been lost ever since. In London, Freud belonged to a loose group of artists who painted figuratively , and which the American painter RB Kitaj referred to as " The School of London ". These painters, who were more or less in close contact with one another, created representational images at a time when abstract painting, concrete art, and performance and installation art dominated the international art scene. In addition to Freud and Bacon, Frank Auerbach , Michael Andrews , Leon Kossoff , Robert Colquhoun (1914–1962), Reginald Gray and Kitaj himself belonged to the circle.


His first solo exhibition took place in 1974 at London's Hayward Gallery and was organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain . In 1977 Freud moved to Holland Park in London . From 1979, when the Nishimura Gallery in Tokyo organized the first exhibition in Japan, his pictures were shown in galleries and museums outside of Great Britain. In 1981 he was involved in the exhibition "Eight Figurative Artists" at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, USA. In 1987 the British Council organized a retrospective for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, which was subsequently shown at the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris, the Hayward Gallery and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

In the 1990s, Freud met Leigh Bowery , a performance artist who had made a name for himself in the art scene with his imaginative, shrill appearances, and who was his model several times. It was through Bowery that he met Sue Tilley , an administrative clerk with a considerable body size. Between 1993 and 1996 he portrayed her a total of four times and also made two portraits as etchings. Two of these large-format oil paintings achieved top prices at Christie's in 2008 and 2015 . In 1991 the British Council organized an exhibition entitled “Lucian Freud. Paintings and Works on Paper ”for the Palazzo Ruspoli in Rome, which was then shown at the Tate Liverpool and, after three stops in Japan, ended in 1993 in Australia with exhibitions in Sydney and Perth. The exhibition “Lucian Freud. Whitechapel Gallery's Recent Works from 1993 was subsequently shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. Further national and international exhibitions followed. In 2010 the Center Pompidou in Paris showed Freud's last exhibition during his lifetime under the title "l'Atelier (The Studio)".

Freud died on July 20, 2011 in London. He was buried in Highgate Cemetery on July 27, with the funeral oration held by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams .


Freud draws his pictures from observing naked and clothed people, who usually belong to his personal environment - in motion, at rest, in sleep. “It's a bit like wildlife photography - of one of the animals,” as he himself says. Lucian Freud usually portrays people and animals as if they were unobserved and completely relaxed. Freud's idiosyncratic expansion of the portrait to include naked portraits, which have nothing in common with conventional nudes, has made him an exceptional figure in figural painting . Freud paints his models in long sessions that often take several hours a week over a period of months. In the 1940s he was still working with thin, two-dimensional application of paint, this soon gave way to a pastose surface. Between 1993 and 1996 Freud painted a series of four nudes, each made about a year apart. Sue Tilley was always the model for the pictures . The contact between her and Freud was established through Leigh Bowery , who was friends with Freud and who also sat for him several times. Bowery had met Sue Tilley, who had a job in a London employment agency, in the London nightclub "Taboo". Freud convinced Sue Tilley, who then weighed around 125 kilograms, to make herself available to him as a model for several years. The meetings, which usually took place on the weekend towards evening and lasted several hours, dragged on for around nine months.

In 2001, on the occasion of the Queen's crown anniversary, he painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II , which was shown in the anniversary exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery in 2002 and which is now in the royal collection .


"Love and art are the only serious things for me."

“My work is purely autobiographical. It's about myself and my surroundings. It is an attempt at a report. I work on people who interest me, who I like and who I think about, in spaces where I live and who I know. "

"I could never put something in a picture that is not currently in front of me [...] That would be a pointless lie, nothing but a little deception."

- Lucian Freud



Corot: L'Italienne, 1870. National Gallery, London

Freud left a fortune of £ 96 million. To pay the inheritance tax were u. a. donated four works from his collection to British museums, including the bronze figure of a galloping horse by Edgar Degas to the National Museum of Art in Cardiff . The painting by Camille Corot L'Italienne ou La Femme à la Manche Jaune , which Freud had acquired at auction in 2001 and which has hung in his studio since that time, was given to the National Gallery as a thank you to Freud for the friendly reception of him Family in Great Britain after fleeing Nazi Germany. Long time assistant David Dawson received a bequest of £ 2.5 million tax free and a house in West London .

The £ 42 million remaining after bequests and taxes will be held in a trust by lawyer Diana Rawston and Freud's daughter Rose Pearce. This regulation was challenged in court by Freud's son Paul McAdam, who like Freud's other children was not considered in the will.

In 2015, the National Portrait Gallery received Lucian Freud's archives, which matched a tax liability of £ 2,940,000. The archive contains 47 sketchbooks, various drawings, a bundle of his children's drawings and a collection of letters. In the same year, Freud's collection of works by his colleague and long-time friend Frank Auerbach was used to settle tax debts through the Arts Council of England . The collection of 15 oil paintings and 29 works on paper was distributed to around 20 smaller museums in Great Britain, the most valuable of the pictures Rebuilding the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square from 1962 went to the Courtauld Institute in London, further works were given to the National Museum Cardiff , which Tate Modern , the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, the Hartlepool Art Gallery, the New Art Gallery in Walsall and Glasgow museums. The collection of greeting cards for Freud's birthday designed by Auerbach went to the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge.

Lucian Freud on the art market

Lucian Freud is one of the contemporary artists whose paintings fetch top prices at auctions. The prices for graphics achieved at auctions are also in the middle of the top range.

In 2008, the portrait of Sue Tilley Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995) at Christie's fetched $ 33.6 million, breaking the record price previously paid for a painting by a living artist. At Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art auction on October 13, 2011, the painting Boys Head (1952), a small-format portrait of Charlie Lumley, grossed just under $ 5 million. The Benefits Supervisor Resting image fetched $ 56,165,000 at auction at Christie's on May 13, 2015. On November 11, 2015, the portrait of Andrew Parker Bowles (2003/04) was auctioned at Christie's in New York for $ 34.89 million. The picture shows the first husband of Camilla Parker Bowles .

Graphics prices start at $ 6-7,000. A top price for a print of $ 49,125 was achieved on February 15, 2012 at Christie's for “After Chardin” (Etching 2000). At an auction at Philipps in London on October 15, 2015, two etchings depicting his model Sue Tilley changed hands for £ 100,000.

However, his pictures often change hands privately and through the art trade, and the prices paid are then not known.


Lucian Michael Freud was born into a Jewish Austrian-German family . His father was the architect Ernst Ludwig Freud - Sigmund Freud's fourth child - and his mother was Lucie (Lux) Brasch (1896–1989), who was born in Berlin. Lucian Freud had two brothers, Stephen Gabriel Freud (1921–2015) and the writer and politician Clement Raphael Freud (1924–2009).

He was married to Kitty Garman (1926-2011), a daughter of the sculptor Jacob Epstein , with whom he had two daughters, Annie (* 1948) and Annabel (* 1952) , since 1948 . The marriage ended in divorce in 1952. On December 9, 1953, he married Lady Caroline Blackwood . This marriage remained childless and was divorced in 1959.

From his numerous relationships, Freud had a number of children, the exact number of which is speculated in the press.

  • Kitty Garman (1926-2011)
  1. Annie Freud (* 1948)
  2. Annabel Freud (* 1952)
  • Suzy Boyt (* 1935) was a Freudian student at the Slade School of Fine Art . The relationship resulted in four children.
  1. Alexander Boyt (* 1957)
  2. Rose Boyt (born 1959) (Rose Pearce), writer
  3. Isobel Boyt (* 1961)
  4. Susie Boyt (* 1969), novelist, columnist
  • Katherine Margaret McAdam (1933-1998) was a student at St Martin's School of Art in London in the late 1950s when she met Freud at a party.
  1. Jane McAdam Freud (* 1958), sculptor
  2. Paul Freud (born 1959) (Paul McAdam), painter
  • Bernardine Coverley (1943–2011), teacher
  1. Bella Freud (* 1961), fashion designer
  2. Esther Freud (* 1963), writer
  • Jacquetta Eliot , Countess of St Germans (born Jacquetta Lampson, born 1943) was a lady of society. Between 1969 and 1978 she sat as model for several of his nudes by Lucian Freud, who drew her several times.
  1. Francis Michael Eliot (* 1971) In 2002 he had his name officially renamed Francis Michael Freud.
  • Celia Paul (* 1959), artist. Lucian Freud, who was 55 at the time, met her as an 18-year-old student at the Slade School of Fine Art, where he was her tutor . It was several months before they became lovers and two years before she modeled him.
  1. Frank Paul (* 1984), artist

Solo exhibitions (selection)

Primary literature

  • Lucian Freud: Some Thoughts on Painting / Some Thoughts on Painting. Encounter, July 1954. Reprinted in: Rolf Lauter (Ed.): Lucian Freud. Naked Portraits. Works from the 40s to the 90s / Works from the 1940s to the 1990s . Ostfildern-Ruit 2001, pp. 281-284. ISBN 978-3-7757-9043-7
  • Lucian Freud - Portraits. DVD, conversations by Jake Auerbach and William Feaver with Freud models. Jake Auerbach Films, 2004.
  • The artist out of cage , Lucian Freud Interview with William Feaver , in: The Observer Review, No. 10495, December 6, 1992. pp. 45-46. Reprint and translation The artist outside the cage , in: Rolf Lauter (Ed.): Lucian Freud: Naked Portraits. Works from the 1940s to the 1990s / Works from the 1940s to the 1990s . Ostfildern-Ruit 2001, pp. 285-295. ISBN 978-3-7757-9043-7
  • Art and Love. Lucian Freud interviewed by Leigh Bowery . In: The Independent Magazine, January 11, 1992. Reprinted in: Lucian Freud. Recent Drawings and Etchings , Matthew Marks Gallery, New York 1993. Reprinted in: Rolf Lauter (Ed.), Lucian Freud: Naked Portraits. Works from the 1940s to the 1990s / Works from the 1940s to the 1990s . Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt am Main, pp.297-301. ISBN 978-3-7757-9043-7


  • Julian Barnes : Freud: The Episodicist . First published in: London Review of Books on December 5, 2013; republished in: Keeping an Eye Open - Essays on Art . Jonathan Cape, London 2015, pp. 237-258. ISBN 978-0-224-10201-8
  • David Cohen: Freud, Lucian . In: Jane Turner (Ed.): The Dictionary of Art . 11. Macmillan, London 1996, pp. 764-765.
  • Andreas Franzke : Freud, Lucian . In: General Artist Lexicon . The visual artists of all times and peoples (AKL). Volume 44, Saur, Munich a. a. 2005, ISBN 3-598-22784-1 , p. 473 f.
  • Martin Gayford: Man with a blue scarf. I sat for Lucian Freud . Piet Meyer Verlag, Bern 2011. ISBN 978-3-905799-11-8
  • Jonathan Cape: A Painter's Progress: A Portrait of Lucian Freud. Random House, London 2014. ISBN 978-0-224-09712-3
  • William Feaver: The Lives of Lucian Freud. The Restless Years, 1922-1968. Bloomsbury Publ. 2019. ISBN 978-0-52565752-1
  • Geordie Greig: Breakfast with Lucian Freud . From the English by Matthias Fienbork. Nagel & Kimche, Munich 2014. ISBN 978-3-312-00609-0
  • Ingrid Lange-Schmidt: Lucian Freud. Much more than just “the grandchildren” - aspects of an artistic development . Lit-Verlag, Berlin 2010. ISBN 978-3-643-10786-2
  • Jennifer Arlene Stone: Freud's Body Ego or Memorabilia of Grief: Lucian Freud and William Kentridge. Javaribooks, New York 2013. ISBN 978-0-9679161-8-7
Exhibition catalogs


  • 2004: Lucian Freud: Portraits . Documentary. Directed by Jack Auerbach, with Isobel, Rose and Suzie Boyt, Andrew and Deborah Cavendish , Andrew Parker-Bowles, David Hockney , Francis Wyndham , David Dawson and Sue Tilley u. a.
  • 2012: Freud's Naked Truths . Directed by Randall Wright , with Jeff Wilburn
  • 2005: The painter Lucian Freud . TV - 3sat from April 29, 2006, 10.30 - 11.35 p.m.:
  • 2019: Lucian Freud. A self-portrait. Exhibition on Screen: Lucian Freud. Documentation of the exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts , London. Directed by David Bickerstaff. Length: 80 minutes

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ William Grimes: Lucian Freud, Figurative Painter Who Redefined Portraiture, Is Dead at 88 ( New York Times Online July 21, 2011)
  2. ^ "Britain's greatest living artist," says The Guardian, April 6, 2006
  3. ^ Friederike Kraus: Lucian Freud 1922. Diploma thesis. Vienna 2013. p. 13.
  4. Telegraph. July 21, 2011.
  5. ^ Freud, Lucian "in Munzinger Online / Personen . Accessed December 23, 2015.
  6. Lucian Freud, Dead Monkey. Christie's Sale 7977, Lot 4 , accessed December 23, 2015.
  7. ^ Obituary for John Craxton In: The Telegraph. November 19, 2009, accessed December 25, 2015.
  8. Lucian Freud, archive. Exhibition 2012 , accessed December 23, 2015.
  9. Christie's Sale 3740 Lot 31 B , accessed August 22, 2015.
  10. Christie's Sale 3740 Lot 31 B , accessed August 22, 2015.
  11. ^ "Art and love are the only serious things for me" [Art and Love. Lucian Freud interviewed by Leigh Bowery, The Independent Magazine, January 11, 1992. Reprinted in Lucian Freud catalog. Recent Drawings and Etchings, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York 1993, n.p. Here taken from: Rolf Lauter (Hrsg.), Lucian Freud: Naked Portraits. Works from the 1940s to 1990s / Lucian Freud: Naked Portraits. Works from the 1940s to the 1990s, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, 29.09.2000-04.03.2001. ISBN 9783775790437 , p.29. Reprint of the entire interview, p.297-301.]
  12. "My work," he said, "is purely autobiographical. It is about myself and my surroundings. It is an attempt at a record. I work from people that interest me, and that I care about and think about, in rooms that I live in and know. " David Kamp: Freud, Interrupted, Vanity Fair, January 31, 2012
  13. "I could never put anything into a picture that wasn't actually there in front of me, [...] That would be a pointless lie, a mere bit of artfulness." [1] Quoted from: William Grimes, obituary in the New York Times, July 21, 2011, accessed December 25, 2015.
  14. Lucian Freud Says Thank You to the Nation with a Corot Painting , accessed January 8, 2016.
  15. Elizabeth Akka: Secret trusts - Rawstron v Freud [2014 EWHC 2577]. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  16. Chris Pleasance: Lucian-Freud-s-son-fails-bid-secure-slice-96million-estate-secret-trust.html , accessed January 8, 2016.
  17. Nicholas Forest: Lucian Freud Archive Acquired for the Nation by NPG London November 17, 2015, accessed January 13, 2016
  18. Figure . The Guardian, November 17, 2009, accessed January 17, 2016
  19. ^ The Guardian, March 2, 2015 , accessed January 16, 2016.
  21. 4,998,088 at Sotheby's October 2011 Evening Sales of 20th Century Italian Art and Contemporary Art , Sotheby''s Press Release, accessed December 16, 2015.
  22. Christie's, Sale 3740, Lot 31 B.
  23. ^ The Guardian. November 11, 2015. Christie's. New York, Rockefeller Plaza. Sale 3790. Lot 31 B.
  24. Christie's .
  25. Lucian Freud etchings fetch £ 1m at Phillips London .
  26. Shulamith Behr, Marian Molet (Ed.): Arts in Exile in Britain 1933-1945. New York, Amsterdam: Rodopi 2005. p. 209.
  27. David Kamp: Freud, Interrupted. In: Vanity Fair, February 2012 , accessed December 19, 2015.
  28. ^ Vanity Fair , February 2012, p. 147
  29. "Drawings and Sculpture, Gazelli Art House, Mayfair" McAdam Freud, Jane ( Memento of the original from January 3, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  30. Hon. Francis Michael Freud on , accessed September 18, 2016.
  31. Frank Paul Drawings  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. .@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  32. ^ The Guardian, Oct. 13, 2012