The Great Lucian Freud – Figure Painter
By Hall Groat Sr.
“STANDING BY THE RAGS “LUCIEN FREUD REVEALS HIS VISCERAL QUALITY IN PAINTING. “GIRL WITH A WHITE DOG “ILLUSTRATES HIS REALISTIC APPROACH TO PAINTING.
Lucian Freud paints figures with a strong visceral quality. With a loaded brush in oil paint and his uninhibited nature, he places his models into erotic poses within compositions beyond one`s wildest imagination. His figures reveal his deep understanding of human anatomy. Most of the body of work throughout his career is of an erotic nature. One could presume this would please his grandfather, Sigmund Freud, world famous psychoanalyst. Sigmund studied sexual behavior and liberated the world in regard to inhibitions about sexual behavior. What I find fascinating about Lucien Freud`s work is the large following by artists of today who refer to him as a great figure painter of our time. While Interviewing established painters recently— in regard to their opinion on whom the greats of today are— Lucian Freud`s name invariably pops up. Worldwide, many artists and critics consider him the best figure painter in modern history. His understanding of human anatomy is exemplary.
On my first trip to London, I saw his “Girl with a White Dog”. This painting was handled in a conventional way although the composition revealed the way Lucian Freud thinks about sexuality. The strange way the white dog appeared in relation to the forlorn girl with one breast prominently exhibited was masterful.
Freud’s work gradually developed a strong painterly quality and on my second trip to London, “Standing by the Rags “was exhibited. It was large oil with a wall of rags behind a nude woman reaching out with her arm as to communicate some hidden meaning. The message merely revealed: “a masterpiece”—was how I perceived this work. I do not obsess over messages as greatness in art needs no explanation. Sigmund Freud, Lucian’s grandfather died in 1938 when Lucian was sixteen. Lucien passed away in 2011 at eighty-eight.