Synopses & Reviews
One of the greatest living painters and portraitists, Lucian Freud (born 1922) brings a powerfully obsessive scrutiny to bear upon his subjects. I want the painting to be flesh, Freud has avowed, and through this aspiration he achieves almost devastatingly unsentimental and revelatory portraits of his sitters, as he translates the act of scrutiny into strokes of paint. Like the studio of his friend Francis Bacon, Freud's own studio has attained its own intensity as the site of his one-on-one encounters, and as a backdrop or stage in his paintings, and the atmosphere of his interiors, and in the light in them, are among his paintings' most pungent qualities. (One of his earliest canvases, from 1944, is titled The Painter's Room.) Accompanying the critically acclaimed spring 2010 Pompidou retrospective, this mammoth survey posits Freud's studio as the decisive stage for his art, and tracks his career in over 200 color illustrations of paintings, graphic works and photographs. Included here are his large interiors, his nudes and variations on portraits by earlier masters, his famous series of self-portraits and imposing portraits of sitters such as Leigh Bowery and substantial photographic documentation of the studio. Lucian Freud: The Studio is the essential book on the artist.
Grandson of Sigmund Freud, Lucian Freud was born in Germany in 1922, and permanently relocated to London in 1933 during the ascent of the Nazi regime. After seeing brief service during the Second World War, Freud had his first solo exhibition in 1944 at the Alex Reid & Lefevre Gallery in London. Despite exhibiting only occasionally over the course of his career, Freud's 1995 portrait Benefits Supervisor Sleeping was sold at auction, at Christie's New York in May 2008, for $33.6 million--setting a world record for sale value of a painting by a living artist.
One of the foremost figurative artists working today, Lucian Freud has redefined portraiture and the nude through his unblinking scrutiny of the human form. Although he is best known as a painter, etching is integral to his practice. This volume accompanies a major Museum of Modern Art exhibition that will present the full scope of Freud's etchings, including some 75 works--from the rare early experiments of the 1940s to the increasingly complex compositions he has created since rediscovering the medium in the early 1980s. Written by exhibition curator Starr Figura, it also includes a selection of paintings and drawings that illuminate the crucial, cross-pollinating relationship between Freud's etchings and his works on canvas. Freud is not a traditional printmaker: Treating the etching plate like a canvas, he stands the copper upright on an easel. He also typically depicts the same sitters in etchings as in paintings, demarcating their forms through meticulous networks of finely etched lines. Freud's etchings may either precede or follow the execution of paintings, and they are sometimes as large as, or larger than, their related canvases. But with their figures dramatically cropped or isolated against empty backgrounds, they achieve a startling new sense of psychological tension and formal abstraction.