July 21, 2011

Lucian Freud has died.

Having just blogged about a famous man's grandson, I find I must do it again. This is much sadder.
From the late 1950s, when he began using a stiffer brush and moving paint in great swaths around the canvas, Mr. Freud’s nudes took on a new fleshiness and mass. His subjects, pushed to the limit in exhausting extended sessions, day after day, dropped their defenses and opened up. The faces showed fatigue, distress, torpor.

The flesh was mottled, lumpy and, in the case of his 1990s portraits of the performance artist Leigh Bowery and the phenomenally obese civil servant Sue Tilley, shockingly abundant.
You can see that painting of Sue Tilley here, in an article from 2008 about its sale.

30 comments:

traditionalguy said...

He sounds like he was a good man.

I have never heard of him before. Rest in peace Lucian.

ricpic said...

Terribly square of me but Freud never ever painted something beautiful. And that's the test.

AST said...

You can't call it obscene.

Carol_Herman said...

It goes with the fried butter!

Would he have been as famous if his grandpa wasn't Freud?

Phil 3:14 said...

When did "fleshy" become a euphemism for "fat"?

Michael K said...

Wow ! If that painting was hanging in my house, I would never be able to sleep. It is beyond ugly unless you have that fetish.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pbAndj said...

Here is some of his stuff.

edutcher said...

Sorry, but Grandad was the greater man.

The Gray Lady would disagree, but that's what makes it so.

And what Phil said.

Lamar63 said...

Why is the death of an old man so much sadder than the death of a 15 year old child?

SunnyJ said...

Right up there with Obama is the second coming...the emporer has no clothes. (I think he was really fat too)

Lamar63 said...

The painting of the Superviser looks like a dead body. Why is this "realism"?

Tim said...

Good God almighty - she's freakin' morbidly obese, with the emphasis on morbid.

You'd only hang that above your fridge, just to kill your appetite. Those mounds of fat took years of dedicated, disciplined gluttony.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Sue Tilley's portrait is a perfect metaphor for public unions. She should be their "Marianne" or "Columbia".

yashu said...

RIP. To me he's always been overshadowed by his friend Francis Bacon, whom I find vastly more compelling, one of my favorites (Bacon that is).

But Freud was in my thoughts recently because I was reading about Lady Caroline Blackwood, a fascinating woman who was married to him & later to Robert Lowell. His portraits of her (Girl in Bed & Hotel Bedroom) are at once delicate & fraught, in a style very unlike his later work-- more psychological than fleshly.

Luther said...

I opened all the links in that article that went to his work. They seemed to match his debauched life, ugly. Certainly nothing I would hang above my mantle.

yashu said...
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yashu said...

The portraits of Caroline Blackwood I was referring to, Girl in Bed and Hotel Bedroom.

ironrailsironweights said...

He looked amazingly young for 86 or 87 in the 2010 picture featured in the Times.

Peter

ironrailsironweights said...

Why is the death of an old man so much sadder than the death of a 15 year old child?

Pablo Dylan is not dead.

Peter

Bob Ellison said...

I saw this at the Philadelphia Museum of Art a year or so ago. It was a celebration of all that the retiring guy who bought a bunch of ugly art like that one.

Bob Ellison said...

*It was a celebration of all that the retiring guy who ran the place bought: mostly ugly art like that one.

I kinda like the nonsensical first version of that sentence, though.

A. Shmendrik said...

Wow, Sue Tilley sure strapped on the feed bag!

Titus said...

I loved Leigh Bowery.

The documentary on her was fab.

God Rest Her Soul.

Luther said...

"Wow, Sue Tilley sure strapped on the feed bag!"

It was government, taxpayer, replenished. All she had to do was open her mouth.

Lamar63 said...

Thanks Iron. I just glanced at the Dylan thread (all things Dylan bore me) and didn't read it. I don't know why I thought younger Dylan was dead.

BAS said...

The painting may be ugly, but atleast it's tan, so it better matches the furniture.

Robert Cook said...

Freud was a great painter, but people who talk of putting paintings "above their mantle" are not people who will tend to appreciate him.

As Picasso said, he did not make paintings to decorate people's living rooms.

MAN WITH A BLUE SCARF by Martin Gayford is an excellent recent book written by an art critic who posed for Freud. The book describes the process of sitting for Freud, the experience of being observed by the painter and of Freud's habits as he painted, of the conversations they exchanged as the painting progressed, and so on. I know a few people who have read it and they all loved it, as I did.

gerry said...

Thank heaven foolish wealthy people have something relatively harmless to do with their money.

Even if what they buy is ugly.

Horror movies are now so graphically repulsive because what is now fashionably "art" is basically repulsive and ugly. You have to push horror to new edges to now achieve what former and superior sensibilities did not require.

Luther said...

"Freud was a great painter, but people who talk of putting paintings "above their mantle" are not people who will tend to appreciate him.

As Picasso said, he did not make paintings to decorate people's living rooms."

Typically condescending intelligentsia put down of those who are too boorish to 'get it'.


The phrase "above their mantle" was just a passing quip, RC. Tastes, in art, as much else in life differ between individuals. Which doesn't mean particularly that one person's taste is better than another's.

I like and appreciate art, of all sorts. I also have no doubt that Mr. Freud was an interesting man who lived for his art. Good for him. I also wasn't necessarily suggesting that any artist paints for money, nor do I care. Ugly art is ugly art.