Biography

Famous Artworks 
“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.
Timeline
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
Major Exhibitions 
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
Museums/Collections 
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
Books/Publications
“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
NEWS

Pumpkins, Portraits, "Painters' Paintings": 10 Exhibitions to See in London This Weekend (July 30-31)

By Samuel Spencer | July 29, 2016

Review: William Eggleston Presents Portraits at London’s NPG

By Samuel Spencer | July 22, 2016

June Sales End in Style with Christie's Defining British Art Auction

By Meghana Reddy | June 30, 2016

Brian Sewell’s Art Collection for Sale at Christie’s

By Mark Beech | June 30, 2016

A Reassuringly Solid Result for Christie's Post-War & Contemporary Sale

By Judd Tully | June 29, 2016

Artists' Answers to the Brexit Vote

By Juliet Helmke | June 24, 2016

SLIDESHOWS

Lucian Freud Unseen at National Portrait Gallery

By Samuel Spencer | June 15, 2016

Salon du Dessin Paris 2016 Top Booths: Slideshow

By Nathalie Mandel | March 30, 2016

Christie's Post-War And Contemporary Art Evening

By Judd Tully | February 11, 2016

Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Auction London

By Judd Tully | February 10, 2016

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

GALLERIES
Blain|Southern

London, GB

Acquavella Galleries

New York, US