(1922 – 2011), Germany

Lucian Freud Biography

Lucian Freud was a British painter internationally known for his intensely intimate and personal portraits, typically depicting his friends and family, colleagues and acquaintances, as well as himself.

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Early Life

Freud was born in Berlin to Ernst L. Freud, the fourth child of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, and Lucie Brach. The family moved to London in 1933, where young artist grew up and went on to study at Central Saint Martins and Goldsmiths, University of London.

Lucian Freud Artworks

Freud's main subject and fascination lay with the human face and body, which he explored through portraits of those close to him.


Among his first subjects were the artist himself, and early paintings such as Man with a Feather (Self-Portrait) (1943) and Man with a Thistle (Self-Portrait) (1946) show Freud's interest in capturing various details and textures.

When painting other people, the artist spent prolonged periods of time observing them, even requiring them to hold a pose for hours in a single session. Regular sitters from the 1940s and 50s include Charlie Lumley, a teenage boy and Freud's neighbour in Delamere Terrace, Paddington, and Kitty Garman, Freud's first wife and sculptor Jacob Epstein's daughter.

The artist initially painted while seated, studying his subjects from a short distance, and favoured muted colours and sharply delineated forms as seen in his portrait of Garman in Girl with a Kitten (1947).

In the early 1950s, Freud began to loosen his brushwork and employ a wider range of colours. It was also during this decade that he began to paint standing, which allowed him to pay special attention to the physicality of the human body, and continued throughout his career.


Freud is also recognised for his nude portraits and studies that he began to paint frequently from the mid-1960s.

Among his regular models were the artist and fashion designer Leigh Bowery and artist's model and writer Sue Tilley, whom Freud portrayed in different poses—seated, standing, reclined, and even from the back.

Always painted from life, and from a pose that the models felt comfortable with, Freud's paintings and drawings reflect his exploration of the human body through its curves and concaves, excesses and recesses, and planes and substances with weight.

In 1993, Freud painted his seminal self-portrait Painter Working, Reflection, which shows the artist standing, nude but for unlaced boots, and holding the tools of his trade in his hands.

Francis Bacon

Freud was close friends with the Irish-born painter Francis Bacon for more than four decades, until they fell out in 1985. Now regarded as two representative figures of contemporary British figurative painting, the two artists shared a commitment to the human figure while diverging in Bacon's preference to work from photographic images and Freud's practice working with live models. They also painted each other, including Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969), a triptych of oil paintings that show Freud sitting on a wooden chair in a cage from three slightly different vantage points.


Lucian Freud began exhibiting in the 1940s and went on to hold solo and group exhibitions in major institutions.

Freud represented Britain at the Venice Biennale alongside Francis Bacon and Ben Nicholson in 1954. London's Hayward Gallery presented the first retrospective exhibition of Freud's work in 1974, which led to a greater international acclaim, including his solo presentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1994.

More recent solo exhibitions of Freud's work include Lucian Freud: Real Lives, Tate Liverpool (2021); Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2020); and Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2019). The Freud Project 2016—2021 at Dublin's Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) comprised exhibitions related to Freud and his work. Lucian Freud: New Perspectives, a major solo exhibition at London's National Gallery, is scheduled for October 2022.

Select group exhibitions include Tales from the Colony Room: Art and Bohemia, Dellasposa Gallery, London (2020) and Life above Everything: Lucian Freud and Jack B. Yeats, IMMA, Dublin (2019).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021

Lucian Freud
featured artworks

Before the Fourth by Lucian Freud contemporary artwork print
Lucian Freud Before the Fourth, 2004 Original etching on Somerset white paper
57.3 x 66 cm
Dellasposa Gallery Request Price & Availability
After Constable's Elm by Lucian Freud contemporary artwork print
Lucian Freud After Constable's Elm, 2003 Etching on paper
54 x 38 cm
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The Egyptian Book by Lucian Freud contemporary artwork print
Lucian Freud The Egyptian Book, 1994 Etching on paper
46.3 x 42.5 cm
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Man Resting (State II) by Lucian Freud contemporary artwork print
Lucian Freud Man Resting (State II), 1988 Etching on paper
47 x 50.2 cm
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