Lucian Freud Portraits – An Undressed State of Rawness & Vulnerability

I’ve always wanted to create drama in my pictures, which is why I paint people. It’s people who have brought drama to pictures from the beginning. The simplest human gestures tell stories.’

-Lucian Freud

Freud, a grandson of the psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud, was born in Berlin in 1922 and fled to Britain with his Jewish family in 1933, when he was 10. Lucian Freud is a master of figurative painting and related subjects’ characters through stark portraiture. His work drew comparisons with equally shocking works by Courbet, Titian and Picasso, the feelings exposed registering as both brash and profound. In 1987, the critic Robert Hughes nominated Freud as the greatest living realist painter.

Here are a few of his portraits that are especially deep, intuitive and profound.
The portraits of Freud don’t necessarily come across as pretty. They are fleshy, raw and seem to capture an essence of humanity in an undressed state of vulnerability, and sometimes ugliness. With the eye of the artist, he definitely saw beneath the exterior.

David Hockney 2002
David Hockney
2002
Boy's Head 1952
Boy’s Head
1952
A Painter 1962
A Painter
1962
Portrait of Christian Berard Completion Date: 1948
Portrait of Christian Berard
Completion Date: 1948
John Minton Completion Date: 1952
John Minton
Completion Date: 1952
Reflection (Self-portrait), 1985 Private Collection, Ireland © The Lucian Freud Archive.  Photo: Courtesy Lucian Freud Archive
Reflection (Self-portrait), 1985
Private Collection, Ireland © The Lucian Freud Archive.
Photo: Courtesy Lucian Freud Archive
Boy on a Sofa fetched £1.49m in 2011, a record price for a work on paper by Freud.
Boy on a Sofa fetched £1.49m in 2011, a record price for a work on paper by Freud.
Ali 1974
Ali
1974
The Painter's Mother Resting I - Lucian Freud, 1975-1976
The Painter’s Mother Resting I – Lucian Freud, 1975-1976
Woman in a White Shirt - Lucian Freud, 1956-1957
Woman in a White Shirt – Lucian Freud, 1956-1957
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (also known as Big Sue) - Lucian Freud, 1995
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (also known as Big Sue) – Lucian Freud, 1995

Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, a life-sized nude portrait of Ms Tilley, set the world record for the highest price paid at auction for a work of art by a living artist when it sold for $33.6 million in 2008 at Christie’s in New York. – a world record for a work by a living artist. More about the painting here.

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