Lucian Freud 1922-2011

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Biography

Lucian Freud is one of the greatest British painters of the twentieth century and is commonly associated with the School of London and a circle of friends including Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, R. B. Kitaj and Leon Kossoff.

Since the 1940s he has obsessively painted, drawn and etched those close to him in painstaking works in which his stated aim is to embody the presence of the subject before him.Lucian Freud's father was Ernst, the fourth and youngest son of Sigmund. Lux, as Lucian was nicknamed, was surrounded by artistic and intellectual influences from an early age: the family home was hung with paintings by Dürer, and grandfather Sigmund gave his grandson prints, including some by Breugel. The family moved to London following the increase in Nazism and prevalent anti-Semitism in Germany. Upon their arrival in England, Lucian and his brothers, Clement and Stephen, were sent to a progressive boarding school in Devon where, despite his clear, early artistic inclination, Lucian hated the art classes, apparently due to the teacher. Preferring animals to people, the precocious artist created a remarkable linocut, Runaway Horse (1936) and later a sculpture from sandstone of a three-legged horse.  Perhaps most commonly known for his thick, impasto application of paint, a technique that created a texture and ultimately contributed a structure to the body being depicted, Freud also created works on paper: drawings, etchings, and watercolours whose genius remained largely overshadowed by his paintings, but whose existence demonstrates a nearly life-long dedication to the art.

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