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Lucian Freud exhibition held at Freud Museum for the first time | Lucian Freud


The first exhibition of the work of Lucian Freud to be held at the home of his grandfather, Sigmund Freud, will include unseen and rarely seen drawings and letters that throw new light on the artist’s boyhood interests.

The exhibition, one of a number marking the 100th anniversary this year of Lucian Freud’s birth, will feature paintings, drawings, family photographs, books and letters. They are drawn from galleries, private collections, family members and the archives of the Freud Museum.

The museum is in the family home in Hampstead, north London, where Sigmund Freud spent his final year after fleeing the Nazis, and where he died in 1939. Lucian Freud, who became one of the 20th century’s most revered artists, often visited his grandfather at the house.

The exhibition includes “quite a lot of newly discovered materials or previously unpublished material about his childhood, adolescence and early manhood,” said its curator, the art critic Martin Gayford.

“A cache of books that I owned in the 1930s has come to light. There is one about [Hans] Holbein portraits, one about birds, another of cartoons by a man called Wilhelm Busch, who Lucian was very keen on. They give us a better picture of what he was in his mind when he was starting out as an artist.”

One of the items that will be displayed is Freud’s sole surviving sculpture, Three-legged Horse, created when the artist was a teenager. “Riding was one of his great enthusiasms for him; horses were one of his great loves from him right to the end of his life – although there are probably more dogs in his work from him. He was very interested in relations between animals and people,” said Gayford.

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The exhibition includes several portraits of Lucian Freud’s mother, Lucie. “He had complicated feelings about his parents of him, particularly about his mother of him, who in a way, he used to say, was too close to him. She was too interested in his affairs, and very interested in him being an artist. After his father de ella died, he painted and drew her very regularly, ”said Gayford.

In a parallel between the grandfather’s and the grandson’s work, a portrait of Lucie lying on a bed will hang over the couch on which Sigmund Freud’s patients reclined in during psychoanalysis sessions – now a centerpiece of the museum.

Lucian was “very fond” of his grandfather, said Gayford. “I used to say his relationship with his grandfather was very straightforward; it was other people’s relationship with his grandfather which creates complexities or confusion. But he also expressed complete lack of interest in psychoanalysis.”

Gayford, the author of a number of art books, sat for a portrait by Lucian in 2003-2005. “It was an enthralling experience, and a very prolonged one. You did not just turn up for a sitting – he wanted to get to know as much as he possibly could about his sitters. So a sitting would usually start with a cup of tea or a drink, and there would be dinner afterwards. It was a very thorough examination.”

Carol Seigel, director of the Freud Museum, said: “This timely exhibition brings together the two men, grandfather and grandson, in Sigmund Freud’s final home, which Lucian would have visited often. The exhibition looks at Lucian’s work from him through the perspective of family connections, a subject on which his grandfather had developed radical new thinking.

Lucian Freud: Family Matters is at the Freud Museum in Hampstead from 6 July until 29 January.


www.theguardian.com

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