Lucian Freud is widely considered the greatest portrait painter of the twentieth century. His visceral renderings of people from all walks of life have a painterly and psychological drama that is unparalleled in contemporary art. For much of a century—from the late 1940s until his recent death in July 2011—Freud made the living human presence his subject. The Modern’s chief curator, Michael Auping, remarks,“ While numerous generations of artists working in the genre of portraiture have come to rely on the photographic image, Freud always insisted on being in the room with his subjects as he painted. His portraits are not only the result of the artist’s intense observations, but often subtle interactions between painter and subject. His paintings represent these relationships, as well as the unique people they portray.”
Freud’s subjects range from neighbors, friends, lovers, family, art world personalities, and royalty. His paintings are, in essence, a visual biography. The exhibition will be divided into broad thematic groups that concentrate on particular periods; groups of sitters; and formal considerations, demonstrating the development of the artist’s painting techniques.
Organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in association with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the exhibition will consist of approximately 90 works, dating between 1943 and 2011. Fort Worth will be the only U.S. venue. A major book will document the exhibition, and will include essays by Auping, Picasso scholar John Richardson, exhibition curator Sarah Howgate, and a series of interviews between Freud and Auping.
This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.