Celebrating Lucien Freud

Detail, Reflection (Self-portrait) by Lucien Freud, Oil painting, 1985; He was 66 years old.

Known for his rich, impasto paintings, Lucien Freud (b. December 8, 1922 – d. July 20, 2011) was a master figurative and portrait painter who remained active throughout his 88 years.  With great stamina and a fierce gaze like a hawk, he painted from live models for long hours every day—while standing!  As his technique developed over the years, his brushwork became thicker and freer, and went from using soft sable brushes to coarse hog hair bristles that he snipped to nubs. He was the middle son of Sigmund Freud.

On Thursday, February 9, 2012, The National Portrait Gallery in London will open the first retrospective of his work, Lucian Freud Portraits. It will include more than 130 pieces of artwork and will travel next to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX this summer.

Lucien Freud in his Holland Park Studio by David Dawson, 2005

David Dawson, his studio assistant for 20 years, took many inspiring and intimate photographs of him while he worked in his studio. You can view them here on Time Magazine’s blog, LightBox.


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