Lucian Freud

  Poetry & Prose    Books / People

Lucian Freud, (1922–2011) was a British painter who is now considered to be one of the foremost 20th c. portraitists. By the 1950s his often stark and alienated paintings tended towards realism. His paintings, that span more that a ½ century, are mostly of friends and acquaintances. Many are noted for their psychological penetration and often discomforting examination of the relationship between himself and the one/s being painted (you’ll see what I’m on about below).

|  8th December, 1922, Berlin.
|  20th July, 2011, London.

Lucian Freud’s family moved to England in 1933 to escape the rise of Nazism. He is the grandson of Sigmund Freud. Freud got his first name “Lucian” from his mother in memory of the ancient writer Lucian of Samosata.

Lucian of Samosata
 
Lucian of Samosata (c. 125–181) was an Assyrian satirist and rhetorician who is best known for his characteristic tongue-in-cheek style, with which he frequently ridiculed superstition, religious practices, and belief in the paranormal. Although his native language was probably Syriac he wrote in Ancient Greek. Historians tell us that Lucian’s works were very popular in antiquity, and more than eighty writings attributed to him have survived to the present day, a considerably higher quantity than for most other classical writers. His most famous work is “A True Story,” which ridicules authors who tell far-fetched tales. This work is considered by some as the earliest known work of science fiction. His influence on the Western canon is substantial and includes e.g., Thomas More’s “Utopia,” William Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens,” Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” and a number of paintings by Sandro Botticelli (c.1445–1510).

"The Calumny of Apelles"by Sandro Botticelli
“The Calumny of Apelles”
by Sandro Botticelli (c.1445–1510) (c. 1494) @ Uffizi, Florence.
— This panel painting in tempera (a permanent, fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder medium such as egg yolk) that is said to be vased on the description of an ancient lost painting by Apelles — Apelles of Kos (4th c. BCE) was a renowned painter of ancient Greece. The content of Apelles’ painting, as described by Lucian, became very popular in Renaissance era Italy.

In 1952, Freud eloped — run off — with Guinness heiress and writer Lady Caroline Blackwood to Paris, where they married in 1953 and six years later got divorced.

According to one U.K. daily (namely The Daily Express with a front page spread headlined: “Lucian Freud the lothario”) Freud is said to have fathered as many as forty children. That may well be something of an exaggeration for, according to Wikipedia, “only fourteen children are officially identified,” 12 of which whose mothers are described as being — rather harshly I feel — “mistresses.”

Lucian Freud's signature

“An artist should appear in his work no more than God in nature. The man is nothing; the work is everything.” -- Lucian Freud (1922–2011)
__ Not inscribed __
A self-portrait on aging. Lucian Freud (1922–2011) once said, “An artist should appear in their work no more than god in nature. The human is nothing; the work is everything.”

__ a drawing __
__ An illustration for a book __
by Lucian Freud (1922–2011) (1947)
— Freud made this drawing as one of his illustrations for a book written by Princess Marie Bonaparte of Greece and Denmark. As it turned out, his drawings, intended for the English translation of Bonaparte’s ‘Flyda of the Seas: A Fairy Tale for Grown Ups,’ were rejected by the publisher. So, in 1948 0r thereabouts, he gave the one depicted above to his friend Sonia Brownell, known as “the Euston Road Venus,” who, in late 1949, married George Orwell. Incidentally Brownell is said to have been the model for Julia, “the girl from the fiction department,” in Orwell’s 1984. Nonetheless, there is something not quite naturalistic about the way these two faces are juxtaposed. Is the self-portrait glimpsed through a window or in a mirror? In any case, Freud is not looking at the woman in profile, but out of the picture at the viewer. Ostensibly, she is Kitty Garman, with whom he began a relationship in 1947 and married in 1948. But the female face also resembles Sonia Brownell’s. She and Freud were close in the late ’40s, when he sent her letters and postcards beginning, “Darling Sonia”. Two people are depicted in the above drawing, Freud himself, Sonia (maybe) and a hint of a presence of a third; a benign/malign B. “Blair” B. one is obligated to wonder.

by Lucian Freud (1922–2011) (1950–1) -- Oil paint on canvas, 76.2 cm by 101.6 cm @ The TATE, London. As Laura Freeman wrote in The Sunday Times, "No coiffure, no powdered shoulders, no airbrushed thighs. With Lucian Freud, paint becomes flesh. Skin puckers under armpits. Veins spread bluely across breasts in unheated studios. Skin is waxy-sallow in London winter light. He leaves out nothing. Not even a mole."
“Girl with a White Dog”
by Lucian Freud (1922–2011) (1950–1)
— Oil paint on canvas, 76.2 cm by 101.6 cm @ The TATE, London. As Laura Freeman wrote in The Sunday Times, “No coiffure, no powdered shoulders, no airbrushed thighs. With Lucian Freud, paint becomes flesh. Skin puckers under armpits. Veins spread bluely across breasts in unheated studios. Skin is waxy-sallow in London winter light. He leaves out nothing. Not even a mole.”

Lucian Freud, 'Hotel Bedroom' (1954) -- Oil on canvas
“Hotel Bedroom”
by Lucian Freud (1922–2011) (1954)
Oil on canvas, 91.1 cm by x 61 cm. This double portrait shows Lucian Freud, in shadow against the light from the window, with his second wife, Caroline Blackwood, in a hotel bedroom in Paris. The pair had married in the previous year, when Caroline was 22. Paintings such as this were, at the time, regarded by many as shocking, violent and cruel. Caroline wrote, much later, that she ‘was dismayed, and others were mystified as to why he needed to paint a girl, who at that point still looked childish, as so distressingly old’. This painting was one of the last Freud painted in his earlier style. It was shown in the British Pavilion at the 1954 Venice Biennale, alongside work by Francis Bacon and Ben Nicholson.

Painting by Lucian Freud (1922–2011) (1972–3) -- Oil on canvas, 61 cm by 61 cm @ The TATE, London. The TATE describe it as thus: "Here the figure is shown lying awkwardly on a bed, with nothing else visible except the stool. It is as if she is an animal on the dissecting table. This feeling is reinforced by the harsh, artificial lighting. ... Freud’s inclusion of his tools in the foreground reminds us that we are looking at the artificial setting of an artist’s studio."
__ Not inscribed __
by Lucian Freud (1922–2011) (1972–3)
Oil on canvas, 61 cm by 61 cm @ The TATE, London. The TATE describe this painting as follows: “Here the figure is shown lying awkwardly on a bed, with nothing else visible except the stool. It is as if she is an animal on the dissecting table. This feeling is reinforced by the harsh, artificial lighting. Freud’s inclusion of his tools in the foreground reminds us that we are looking at the artificial setting of an artist’s studio.”

Freud-Irish-Woman-on-a-Bed_hero
“When I’m painting people in clothes I’m always thinking very much of naked people, or animals dressed.”
— Lucian Freud (1922–2011)

vii-152-3-two-women033x
“It is the only point of getting up every morning: to paint, to make something good, to make something even better than before, not to give up, to compete, to be ambitious.”
— Lucian Freud (1922–2011)

Large Interior, Notting Hill, 1998 (oil on canvas)
“Large Interior, Notting Hill”
— by Lucian Freud (1922–2011) (1998). He once said, “When I’m painting people in clothes I’m always thinking very much of naked people, or animals dressed.”

It is said that towards the end he said: “What do I ask of a painting? I ask it to astonish, convince, disturb [and] seduce.”


One of L. F.’s children is Esther Freud. She travelled extensively with her mother — Bernardine Coverley — and sister in her younger years and this no doubt contributed to her 1992 novel Hideous Kinky.

A promotional poster for the film: Hideous Kinky "My witness is the empty sky [&] maybe that's what life is... a wink of the eye and winking stars." -- Jack Kerouac "My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them."
A promotional poster for the film: Hideous Kinky
“My witness is the empty sky [&] maybe that’s what life is… a wink of the eye and winking stars.”
Jack Kerouac
  “Astrophil and Stella” by Sidney
  “Bright Star” by Keats
  “Sonnet № CXVI” by Shakespeare
A still from the film: Hideous Kinky "My witness is the empty sky [&] maybe that's what life is... a wink of the eye and winking stars." -- Jack Kerouac "My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them."
A still from the film: Hideous Kinky
“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”
Jack Kerouac


READING LIST ETC.

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I was dead, deader than dead because, I was still alive.
Ways of Escape ~
“I was dead, deader than dead because, I was still alive.”
The Prophet is a book of 26 prose poetry fables written in English by the Lebanese-American poet and writer Kahlil Gibran. The Prophet has been translated into over 100 different languages, making it one of the most translated books in history. Moreover, it has never been out of print.
The Prophet ~
“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.”
The Essential Rumi, by Rumi ~ e.g. ~ “Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.”
The Essential Rumi ~
“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”
.
Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost
Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986) was a French writer, philosopher and political activist. She is known for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism.
The Second Sex
1984
1984
Delta of Venus
Delta of Venus
A Room of one's own
A Room of One’s Own
War and Peace
Brave New World (1932) is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley. Set in a futuristic World State, whose citizens are environmentally engineered into an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story's protagonist (one Bernard Marx). In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World at number five on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th c.
Brave New World
Beloved is a 1987 novel by the late American writer Toni Morrison. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 and, in a survey of writers and literary critics compiled by The New York Times, it was ranked the best work of American fiction from 1981 to 2006. The work, set after the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865, was inspired by the life of Margaret Garner, an African American who escaped slavery by crossing the Ohio River to Ohio, a free state. Garner was subsequently captured and decided to kill her infant daughter rather than have her taken into slavery.
Beloved
Moby~Dick
The Grapes of Wrath

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