Lucian Freud (* 8 December 1922 in Berlin; † 20 July 2011 in London) was a British painter. He was one of the most important portrait painters of the 20th century. In 2004, art critic Robert Hughes called him "Britain's greatest living painter".
Lucian Freud was one of three sons of the Austrian architect Ernst Ludwig Freud and Lucie Freud, who came from a Berlin merchant family, born Brasch, and the grandson of Sigmund Freud. The family lived in Tiergarten am Matthäikirchplatz, a district of Berlin. Lucian Freud attended the French Gymnasium in Berlin. The family emigrated to England in 1933. In 1939, Freud took up British citizenship.
Early on, he focused his art on portraits and close-up nudes. His early works appear very meticulous and can be attributed to Realism, but his subjectivity and intensity set him apart from the more sober tradition of post-war British figurative art. As an emerging artist, Freud was strongly influenced by the British artist Francis Bacon. His later paintings from the 1950s onwards feature broader and even more expressive brushwork and include a series of portraits of Freud's friends and family members with whom he maintained close relationships.
Freud drew his imagery from observing both naked and clothed people, usually part of his personal environment - in motion, at rest, asleep. "It's a bit like animal world photography - of one of the animals" as he himself says. Lucian Freud usually depicts people and animals as if they were unobserved and completely relaxed. Freud's idiosyncratic expansion of portraiture into naked portraits, which have nothing in common with conventional nudes, has made him an exceptional figure within figurative painting. Freud painted his models in long sessions, often lasting months, which took several hours each week. While in the 1940s he still worked with a thin, two-dimensional application of paint, this soon gave way to a pastose pictorial surface.
In 2001, on the occasion of the Queen's Crown Jubilee, he painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which was shown in the 2002 Jubilee Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and is now in the possession of the Royal Collection.
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