Tuesday Art Attack- Lucian Michael Freud "Self Portrait 1985" by Christian Franzen
Posted on March 24 2015
Lucian Michael Freud was born on December 8th, 1922 in the city of Berlin, Germany. Being of Jewish decent, his family fled Germany in 1933 for London to evade the rising Nazi power. Freud attended grade school in London and became an official British subject in 1939. After completing grade school Freud studied at a number of art Schools across Britain. For a short while he studied at the Central School of Art in London, then transferring to the Cedric Morris' East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing for 2 years. He finally finished up at Goldsmiths' College in 1943. While in school he served as a seaman in the Atlantic Convoy for a year in the British efforts of World War 2.
In 1943, editor Meary James Thurairajah Tambimuttu commissioned Freud to illustrate a book of poems by Nicholas Moore titled "The Glass Tower". Subject matter from these illustrations would appear throughout his work for years to come. Freud was a member of a group of figurative artists referred to as "The School of London". These group of artists were all in close proximity of one another painting figuratively in the height of abstract expressionist painting. Members of this group include Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Reginald Gray, and many others. Freud's first solo was held in the Alex Reid and Lefevre Gallery in 1944. Freud spent a long while after this show traveling around Europe visiting friends and searching for new muses. He became a visiting professor at the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1949 to 1954.
Freud often painted the figure in a portrait style painting. In many of his paintings he also included the pet of his subject. Over his career Freud developed his style of painting the figure. He used longer brushes for a looser quality and used lots of paint. Many of Freud's paintings are very thick; using this impasto technique he would build up thick surfaces and textures along his figures. Nearly all of his paintings were done with a real life subject of subjects and not from reference photos or scotches. Freud was known to spend a lot of time studying his subjects and painting them. A painting he completed in 2007 took approximately 2,400 hours to complete with the model posing for nearly the whole time. Freud also did many portraits of his contemporaries later on in his career. The portraits of Frank Auerbach and Francis Bacon are most famous of this series.
Freud continued to paint and held many solo shows towards the end of his life. As he grew older he liked use people he knew as subjects in his paintings because he believed it to make the painting more personal. He is quoted saying "I paint people, not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be". Freud died on July 20th, 2011 in his city of London at the age of 89.