Realist painter Lucian Freud has died aged 88 after a brief illness
Lucian Freud, one of the seminal British Painters of the 20th century has died in London, after a brief illness, he was 88. Born the son of an Austrian Jewish father, Ernst Ludwig Freud, a successful architect, and a German mother, Lucie née Brasch.He was the grandson of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, the elder brother of the late broadcaster, writer and liberal politician Clement Freud and the uncle of writer Emma and PR guru Matthew Freud. Lucian moved with his family to England in 1933 to escape the rise of the Nazi Party in Austria. He became a British citizen in 1939, having attended Dartington Hall School in Totnes, Devon, and later the Bryanston School. When he was 15, Freud enrolled at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, but unhappy with the school’s classical direction quit in 1939. He than attend the East Anglian School of painting, run by the artist Cedric Morris. Freud was recognised by Morris as a prodigy and on his own initiative sketched portraits of the editors of the publication Horizon, Cyril Connolly and Stephen Spender. Freud took a studio in Maida Vale and lived the classic bohemian lifestyle during the war. His powerful subjects often included friends and family which he turned into revealing portraits and particularly innovative, oversized nudes.
Freud’s body of work follows a perceptive exploration of daily life not dissimilar to the American painter Edward Hopper. His paintings demonstrate that significant art can come from the acute observation of ordinary events, and, again like Hopper but in a very different way, a similar atmosphere of unease is created. He makes us aware of our sexuality, our fatness or thinness, our mortality – our nakedness.”I paint people,” Freud has said, “not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be.” Freud has painted fellow artists, including Frank Auerbach and Francis Bacon.
He produced a series of portraits of the performance artist Leigh Bowery, and also painted Henrietta Moraes, a muse to many Soho artists. Freud was clearly one of the best known British artists working in a representational style. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize twice in 1989 and again in 1996. In recent years, his paintings have commanded millions of pounds at auction. One example was of the overweight nude woman sleeping on a couch that sold for the record price in 2008 of £17.2million. Titled Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, it illustrates a larger than life portrait of a Job-centre worker. The painting set the world record for the most expensive price paid at auction for a work of art by a living artist. Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal mounted a major exhibition of 27 paintings and thirteen etchings, covering the whole period of Freud’s working life to date. The following year the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art presented “Lucian Freud: Early Works”. The exhibition comprised around 30 drawings and paintings done between 1940 and 1945. This was followed by a large retrospective at Tate Britain in 2002. During a period from May 2000 to December 2001, Freud was comissioned to paint Queen Elizabeth II in 2001. There was criticism of this portrayal of the Queen in some sections of the British media as the portrait did not glamorise the monarch. The tabloids were particularly condemnatory, describing the portrait as “a travesty”. 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 New York. Lucian Freud died Wednesday 20th July