Farewell Lucian Freud

I’m sure you’ve all heard that Lucian Freud, the acclaimed British artist (and grandson of Sigmund) passed away on Wednesday at the age of 88. Often referred to as “a painter’s painter”, Freud was, by any measure, a giant of 20th century figurative art. Freud got up close and personal – artistically and psychologically – with his subjects. Life subjects, that is. I emphasize that point because, if for no other reason, Lucian Freud should be commended for creating figurative art when figurative art was considered “out of fashion”. Throughout his career, he refused to conform to the trends. Freud also, along with his good friend Francis Bacon, helped to push British painting into relevance. And since this is an art model’s blog, I must also mention that Freud was famous for the hundreds of hours of model sessions he required for a painting. Wow, that’s a lot of modeling fees! But he could afford it no doubt. His work has sold for tens of millions of dollars.

Indeed, Freud’s work screams labor. It is said that he wiped his brush after every stroke. His rigorous process is evident on the canvas. Detractors would say too evident. But that intense effort created one of the most amazing self-portraits I’ve ever seen, which I posted on my Tumblr.

Arresting, realistic, and unflinching, Lucian Freud’s work is most definitely not for those who subscribe to the idealized “humanity as beauty” Renaissance school. In fact, Freud himself was said to have despised the Renaissance aesthetic. He chose to remind us that we are all flesh and mortal and flawed, and not the gods and goddesses that Raphael and Botticelli would have us believe.

One of Freud’s most popular works, Girl With a White Dog. The model is his first wife Kitty Garman:

Blonde Girl, Night Portrait:

Portrait of Frank Auerbach:

The Freud work that sold for $33 million at Christie’s, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, which holds the record for highest price paid for a living artist:

7 thoughts on “Farewell Lucian Freud

  1. Fred says:

    Thanks for this tribute. Freud painted with intensity and total commitment.

  2. model fees? Freud was notorious for only painting people he knew closely and intimately- friends, family, neighbors, students. they were the only ones who could stand the rigor of his modelling sessions. They weren’t sessions, they were “sacrifices”, they were acts of love . In fact, a lot of his more challenging nudes were modeled by his three daughters.
    He did do a few commissions, but they were small compared to his entire ouvre.

  3. Derek says:

    I remember this bloke,
    God bless him
    he does unqiue paintings Though not my cup of tea but
    he was a very good painter and very creative. he sold a lot of shillings
    with his unique art.
    I once had an enciunter when I was shopping 20 years ago in London.
    He was very pensive and very serious.
    he had his daughters as his muses and friends.
    I love the one he did with Bella.
    and the other portraits he did with Kate Moss and Jerry Hall.
    Thanks for sharing with us on Lucian

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