Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud, OM, CH (born December 8, 1922) is a British painter and printmaker.

Freud, the grandson of Sigmund Freud and brother of Clement Freud, was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1922. Freud and his family emigrated to the UK in 1933, the artist gaining British citizenship in 1939.

Freud studied briefly at the Central School of Art in London then, with greater success, at Cedric Morris's East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham. Thereafter, he served as a merchant seaman in an Atlantic convoy in 1941 before being invalided out of service in 1942. Freud's first solo exhibition, at the Lefevre Gallery in 1944, featured the now celebrated The Painter's Room 1944. In the summer of 1946, he travelled to Paris before continuing to Italy for several months. Since then he has lived and worked in London.

Freud's early paintings are often associated with surrealism and depict people and plants in unusual juxtapositions. These works are usually painted with quite thin paint, but from the 1950s he began to paint portraits, often nudes, to the almost complete exclusion of everything else, and began to use a thicker impasto. The colours in these paintings are typically muted.

Often Freud's portraits just depict the sitter, sometimes sprawled naked on the floor or on a bed, but sometimes the sitter is juxtaposed with some other thing, as in Naked Girl with Egg (1980-81) and Naked Man with Rat (1977).

Freud's subjects are often the people in his life; friends, family, fellow painters, lovers, children. To quote the artist: "The subject matter is autobiographical, it's all to do with hope and memory and sensuality and involvement, really."

"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 a number of 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 is one of the best known British artists working in a traditional representational style. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989.

According to the Sunday Telegraph of September 1, 2002, he is rumoured to have up to 40 illegitimate children, acknowledging them when they have become adults. He married Kathleen Epstein in 1948. He married writer Caroline Blackwood in 1957. He has children by Jacquetta Lampson, daughter of the first Baron Killearn, and by Bernardine Coverley (one of whom is writer Esther Freud), Suzy Boyt, and Margaret McAdam.

Further reading

External links

  • WebMuseum: Lucian Freud ( - features images of a selection from Freud's work
  • Lucian Freud (ArtChive) ( - includes quotes from the biography by Lawrence Gowing, as well as images of additional artistic works
  • Interior at Paddington (1951) (, Freud's portrait of his friend, Harry Diamondde:Lucian Freud

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