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.’
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.
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.