Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lucian Freud's Death

I first became aware of Lucian Freud's work when I was in High School. I used to haunt the Art Library in the basement of The Wilbur Cross Library at The University of Connecticut. My school, E.O.Smith, was located on the University Campus. They had a few catalogues from Freud's very infrequent shows, and there were a few European art books that displayed some pitiful reproductions of his pitiless portraits. I took courage from the awkward beginnings of his art. I figured that if Lucian could become such a superb draughtsman, lacking as he did any "natural talent," then so could I. Much as I love his late work, when I heard that he died I thought immediately of those early paintings and drawings.

One of the first paintings I ever saw of his, in the flesh as it were, was in a group show at Xavier Fourcade Gallery in tribute to Willem De Kooning on his eightieth birthday. The painting was Naked Man With His Friend. I always felt a connection between their work, De Kooning's and Freud's. Lucian was another exile, like Bill. The paintings I'm showing here are all from the War Years. You can almost hear the bombs dropping, as you could in London at the time only after they'd already hit (that's how you knew you were still alive,) even now long after they fell.

1 comment:

  1. Was at the Met this past Friday and came upon a show called something like "postwar figurative art in Britain". It had a couple of F Bacon paintings, one by Auerbach, and 15 by Freud. That was it. Nice to come upon accidentally. One of Bacon's paintings was titled "Study for a Portrait of Lucian Freud". Freud was the star of the show. "Naked Man with His Friend" was hanging, along with the painting of the back of Leigh Bowery, and several large nudes. Pretty amazing to look at, the color, the brushwork. Not afraid to get ugly. Was trying to get a shot of some of the pimples on Bowery's back but the guard stopped me. The overall "light" of some of these late paintings reminded me of the work by Edwin Dickinson. The show went up 2 weeks ago. I think they are works from private collections destined for donation to the Met. The Auerbach was interesting to look at in terms of sheer physicality of paint. Massive, high relief, and earthy. Why it wasn't sliding off the canvas, I don't know. It was great to walk into the gallery and see so much of his work right after his death.