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July 20: Lucian Freud

July 20, 2013

14. Freud, Lucian - Ib And Her Husband (detail)Lucian Freud, a master of psychologically rich portraiture and one of Britain’s preeminent contemporary artists, died at 89 on this date in 2011. A grandson of Sigmund Freud, he fled Nazi Germany with his family as a boy and became a British citizen in 1939. Freud was a lifelong rebel who was expelled from school and from the merchant marine, and who fathered at least fourteen children with twelve different women over the course of his life. By the late 1950s he was painting the nudes that would make him famous, many of them giant works, many of deeply sleeping models (male and female and canine). His paintings were divided into day paintings (natural light) and night paintings (artificial light) and took exhaustive amounts of time to complete. Freud’s presence is felt in many of these works, through the inclusion of studio materials, or simply as a lingering observer. Although he was the son of Jewish parents, Lucian Freud was buried in Highgate Cemetery, with Archbishop Rowan Williams officiating at a private funeral service.

“The subject matter is autobiographical, it’s all to do with hope and memory and sensuality and involvement, really.” —Lucian Freud