Lucian Freud

Nationality : British

Birth Year : 1922

Place of Birth : Berlin, Germany

Place of Death : London, United Kingdom

Specialities : Contemporary Art, Old Masters


“Man With a Feather,” 1943
“Girl With a White Dog,” 1951-52
“Naked Man With Rat,” 1977–78
“Reflection (Self-Portrait),” 1985
“Benefits Supervisor Sleeping,” 1995
“Pluto and the Bateman Sisters,” 1996
“After Chardin,” 1999
“After Cezanne,” 1999-2000
“Queen Elizabeth II,” 2000-01
“Kate Moss,” 2002
Lucian Freud was a British Realist painter of German descent, best known for his visceral and unsettling portraits and figures. He was the grandson of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, and strove for objectivity in portraiture through his lifetime.
Early Life
Lucian Michael Freud was born in Berlin in December 1922. His father, Ernst Ludwig Freud, was an architect and the youngest son of Sigmund Freud, the central figure in the birth of psychological study as a form of medicine. Though the family was Jewish, they were of a non-practicing, secular ideology and Freud spent his early years in middle-class comfort, living close to the Tiergarten through most of the year, with summers spent at a cottage on the Baltic Islands.
Their fortunes changes with the rise of Nazism, and when Hitler was made Chancellor in 1933, the Freuds left Berlin for the British capital, eventually finding a home in St. John’s Wood. Lucian attended the Bryanston School and the Dartington Hall School in Devon, but was expelled from both for disobedience and unruly behavior. In 1939, Freud was put under the tutelage of Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines, who ran a free-form school in Dedham, Essex. He spent the next three years working on and off under Morris, citing him as an influence in his decision to become an artist . During this time, he was awarded British citizenship.
Rising Star
By 1939, Freud had taken enough advantage of his famous name and natural charisma to find a way into the society of Britain’s homosexual elite, finding peers in poet and novelist Stephen Spender, literary critic and writer Cyril Connolly, and art collector Peter Watson. He had already published a number of illustrations in the “Horizon,” a radical art magazine, and was adopted into the coterie without issue, pronouncing counter-culturalism and homosexuality as vital elements in artistic practice.
From 1940 to 1945, Freud led a meandering lifestyle. He volunteered as an ordinary seaman on the “S.S. Baltrover” in March 1941 — after being accused of arson at his art school a few weeks earlier — a short-lived career that ended with the withdrawal of his naval license. He returned to university the following year and began work on a series of surrealist still lifes that eventually culminated in “Dead Heron.”
The Artist as a Portraitist
Freud travelled to Paris in 1947 with Kitty Garman, the daughter of sculptor Jacob Epstein, who would become the repeated subject of many of his paintings, including “Girl in a Dark Jacket,” and, eventually, his wife. The marriage was brief, however, and they divorced in 1952. He married again the following year, to Caroline Blackwood, whose portraits he painted recurrently as well.
Despite the variety of subjects he painted — whether friend or stranger — Freud’s work retained an uncomfortable suggestion of existential angst, full of trepidation and isolation. He moved away from surrealism to a more developed individual realistic style, most evident in the translucency and detail of facial features and expressions. “Girl with a White Dog,” “Boy Smoking,” and “Head of a Woman” are examples of his work from this period.
The Nudes
In 1966, Freud began work on a series studying the nude form, beginning first with the female figure — the most subversive and disturbing of his oeuvre. Insistent upon honesty more than aesthetic, his portraits seem unattractively carnal, depicting the degeneration of flesh more than any sexual splendor. This unsentimental approach often reduces the subjects to their awkwardness and physical flaws and exhibits an infinite emotional vacancy.
His attention turned to male nudes in the following decade, beginning with “Man with Rat” in 1977. These differ from his work with female models, mainly in presentation, with the male often shown lounging in his own space, still and ageless. Performance artist Leigh Bowery became one of his favored models after a show in 1990, and his portraits illustrate the masculine power encompassed in his large naked form. His death from AIDS in 1994 resulted in a slowing down of Freud’s usually prolific output.
Personal Life and Death
Freud was known for his animalistic, belligerent nature and voracious sexual appetite. He is said to have fathered over 40 children, although that number seems excessive. He was a great gambler as well, often causing brawls at supermarkets and bars when bookies came calling to collect debts. He was often cruel and secretive, withholding his private telephone number from some of his children, but not others. Despite his personal failings, he is remembered as one of the great Realist painters and the only one of the 20th century. Freud lived in Holland Park, London, till his death in 2011 and is buried in Highgate Cemetery.
1922  -  Born in Berlin
1931  -  Moves to England with his parents
1933–1938  -  Dartington Hall School, Devon
1939–1942  -  Central School of Arts and Crafts, London
1939–1942  -  Studies under Cedric Morris
1951  -  Purchase Prize from Arts Council of Great Britain
1949–1954  -  Visiting tutor at the Slade School of Fine Art, London
1993  -  Awarded the Order of Merit
2011  -  Dies in London
1944  -  Alex Reid and Lefevre Gallery, London
1954  -  27th Venice Biennale, Venice
1974  -  Hayward Gallery, London
1987–1988  -  Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC 
1996  -  The Museum of Modern Art, New York
1999  -  Marlborough Graphics, Ltd., London
1999  -  Yale Center for British Art, New Haven
1999  -  Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego
1999  -  Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
1999  -  Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
1999  -  Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
1999  -  Haus der Kunst, Munich
2000  -  Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
2000  -  Acquavella Contemporary Art, Inc., New York
2000  -  White Cube, London
2000  -  Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City
2000  -  National Gallery, London
2000  -  Blaine Fine Art, London
2001  -  Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt
2001  -  Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
2002  -  Tate Britain, London, UK
2002  -  Fundació La Caixa, Barcelona
2002  -  Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
2002  -  Städtisches Kunstmuseum Spendhaus, Reutlingen
2002  -  Kunsthalle in Emden, Emden
2003  -  Timothy Taylor Gallery, London
2003  -  Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
2003  -  Rex Irwin, Sydney
2003  -  Karyn Lovegrove Gallery, Los Angeles
2004  -  Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
2004  -  The British Museum, London
2004  -  James Kelly Contemporary, Sante Fe
2004  -  Tate Britain, London
2005  -  Fine Art Society, London
2006  -  Galerie Haas AG, Zurich
2006  -  Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto
2007  -  Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam
2008  -  John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco
2008  -  Faggionato Fine Arts, London
2008  -  Museum of Modern Art, New York
2010  -  Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
2012  -  Blain Southern, London
2012  -  National Portrait Gallery, London
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
National Gallery of Canada, Ontario
Museo Botero, Bogota
Tate Britain, London
National Portrait Gallery, London
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
The Royal Collection, London
“Lucian Freud” by William Feaver
“Lucian Freud: Recent Work” by Catherine Lampert
“Lucian Freud: L’Atelier” by Cecile Debray
“Lucian Freud: Etchings” by Andreas Franzke
“Lucian Freud: Works on Paper” by Nicholas Penny and Robert Flynn Johnson
“Lucian Freud: Drawings” by William Feaver and Mark Rosenthal
“Lucian Freud: Portraits” by Norman Rosenthal and Daniel Blau
“Lucian Freud: Painting People” by Sarah Howgate and David Hockney

See More Lots FOR FREE
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LOT SOLD (1998 - 2009)






TOTAL SALES (1998 - 2009)


 Tired Boy by Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud

Tired Boy

Christie's, London

October 16, 2015

$837,566  USD

 Before The Fourth (See Figura P. 26 Fig. 12) by Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud

Before The Fourth (See Figura P. 26 Fig. 12)

Sotheby's, London

September 30, 2015


 Painter's Garden (Figura 99) by Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud

Painter's Garden (Figura 99)

Sotheby's, London

September 30, 2015

$56,745  USD

 David Dawson (F. 78) by Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud

David Dawson (F. 78)

Sotheby's, London

September 30, 2015

$41,613  USD

 After Chardin (Small Plate) (See F. P. 33 Fig. 18) by Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud

After Chardin (Small Plate) (See F. P. 33 Fig. 18)

Sotheby's, London

September 30, 2015

$8,512  USD

 Portrait Head (F. 61) by Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud

Portrait Head (F. 61)

Sotheby's, London

September 30, 2015

$30,264  USD

 Ib (Hartley 22; F. 25) by Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud

Ib (Hartley 22; F. 25)

Sotheby's, London

September 30, 2015

$26,481  USD

 Girl holding her foot (H. 25; F. 34) by Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud

Girl holding her foot (H. 25; F. 34)

Sotheby's, London

September 30, 2015

$34,047  USD

 Bella (H. 30; F. 31) by Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud

Bella (H. 30; F. 31)

Sotheby's, London

September 30, 2015

$28,373  USD


SPONSORED: Around the World in 11 Days on Auctionata’s "Art Journey"

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | November 23, 2015

Beginning on November 27, the online auction house Auctionata will be taking bidders around the world in 11 days. Auctioning off 2,000 works of art from 20 different countries in regionally...

Sotheby’s Puts Spotlight on Nudes in London Selling Exhibition

By Mark Beech | November 18, 2015

Sotheby’s has chosen the theme of the naked human body for a new exhibition.It is an obvious leitmotif for a selling show of name artists, when so many have worked with nude figurature throughout...

MoMA Returns a Kirchner Painting to Heirs of Original Owner, SF Fine Art Museums Fire Whistleblower, And More

By Noelle Bodick | November 17, 2015

— Museum of Modern Art Returns Kirchner Painting to Heirs of Jewish Owner: A painting in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner will be returned to the heirs of German art...

Lucian Freud Archive Acquired for the Nation by NPG London

By Nicholas Forrest | November 17, 2015

London’s National Portrait Gallery has announced that the Lucian Freud Archive has been acquired for the nation from the estate of Lucian Freud to settle £2,940,000 of tax. Acquired through the...

Led by Modigliani, Christie's Brings in Half a Billion With "The Artist's Muse"

By Judd Tully | November 10, 2015

Powered by two record-setting 20th century masterworks, by Amedeo Modigliani and Roy Lichtenstein, Christie’s “Artist’s Muse: A Curated Evening Sale” realized $491,352,000 for the 24 lots that...

On the Block: Major November Sales at Sotheby's, Christie's, and Phillips

By Judd Tully,Art+Auction | October 26, 2015

Change is in the air and on the ground as auction giant Christie’s redraws the salesroom boundaries of 20th-century art, in the process upending years of evening sale categories identical to...

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The Artist's Muse: A Curated Evening Sale

By Judd Tully | November 9, 2015

Lucian Freud 32 Etchings at Phillips London

By Nicholas Forrest | September 14, 2015