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"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." (Lucian Freud, 2002)


"The harder you concentrate, the more things that are really in your head start coming out."



The aching loss that accompanies the death of an interesting painter is much greater when it marks the ending of a unique point of view. The death of Lucian Freud marks such a passing as did that of his friend Francis Bacon two decades ago. Freud revitalized figurative art by making a unique contribution to it. Throughout a time when humanity became increasingly obsessed with unreal bodies [from wafer thin models to the outcome of muscular self-experiments in supplements and steroids] he remained interested in painting people as they usually happen to be – the imperfect, saggy animals which appear daily in our bathroom mirrors. His portrait of his daughter Bella (1995-96, see image 5), is of an actual young woman far from the ideal represented in magazines yet so beautiful just as she is.

In many of his portraits the flesh protrudes with a astonishing three dimensionality such as his friend Susan Tilley Sleeping by the Lion Carpet (1996). Like so many of his works it is intense yet not unsettling. A protective warmth envelopes Tilley as it does most of Freud’s nudes.

Against the strong cultural tendency to censor such images [fat must not be seen] Freud produced images of intense corporality. In 1995 his portrait of Tilley (naked on a sofa) Benefits Survivor Sleeping, caused an enormous stir in England which in the end served to reinvigorate discussions of figurative art. [Benefits Survivor sold for over 17 million pounds to Roman Abramovich at a Christie’s auction in 2008, setting a new record for a living artist]. These are nudes not for art’s sake [he produced a few of those in his younger days too] but paintings about the individual variety of..." http://www.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-9_1/v9-1-coulterfreud.html
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