The National Gallery in London will bring together a selection rarely seen paintings by Lucian Freud for a major retrospective opening next month that marks the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth.
The show is considered one of the most significant surveys of the late British painter’s life and career in more than decade. Among the 65 works on view are portraits of Freud’s fellow artists Francis Bacon, David Hockney, and Frank Auerbach, as well as a small portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II, which Freud painted in 2000-2001, and is the first official loan from King Charles and the Royal Collection.
Lucian Freud, the grandson of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, was born in Berlin in 1922 and raised largely in the U.K., where he would become known as one of its leading, and most controversial, painters.
Early on, Freud immersed himself in Surrealism—a psychologically-driven movement closely associated with the work of his grandfather. With his style later trending toward realism and figuration, Freud developed a method of painting that was uniquely his own, imbuing bodies with twisted and convoluted facial expressions ranging from the bizarre to the straight-up uncanny.
His canvases, layered thick with impastoed figures conveying intense discomfort and anxiety, became the perfect motif for a British society coming to terms with its role in the post-war world order.
Freud’s legacy has without a doubt had a profound and lasting impact on the art market, too, albeit in a rather haphazard way. After he died, his bookie (Freud was a notorious gambling addict) owned more than $100 million dollars worth of the artist’s work.
In 2008, Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995), portrait of civil servant Sue Tilley, sold for $33.6 million, what was then the highest price ever recorded by a living artist; and, in 2015, his painting The Brigadier (2004), sold for $34.89 million.
The retrospective at the National Gallery, which opens October 1, will coincide with a show at Gagosian’s London outpost that brings together works by Freud, alongside those by artists he knew, including Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews, and the photographer Bruce Bernard.
See below for more images from the show.
“Lucian Freud: New Perspectives” is on view from October 1 through January 2023 at the National Gallery in London. The National Gallery will be offering tickets Friday evenings for as low as £1 each.