Lucian Freud (British, 1922–2011) is an artist best known for his unique, realistic treatment of nudes and impressive portraits. The grandson of Sigmund Freud, the artist was born in Berlin, but escaped the rising Nazism in 1933 and went to England, where he became a citizen in 1939. Between 1938 and 1943, Freud studied at the Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and at the Goldsmith’s College in London, as well as at the East Anglican School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham. After serving in the British Navy during World War II, he began to pursue his career as an artist full time. Freud established a formidable reputation after winning a prize at the Festival of Britain in 1951 for his Interior at Paddington, and reached international renown for his work at the Venice Biennale in 1954.

Early on, he established what would become a lifelong focus on portraits and nudes, which he often depicted in arresting close-up. His early work was meticulously painted, and has sometimes been described as Realism, but the subjectivity and intensity of his work has always set him apart from the sober tradition characterized by British figurative Post-War art. As an emerging painter, Freud was heavily influenced by British artist Francis Bacon’s disruptive smear, and portrayal of the innate perversity of the human existence. Like Bacon, Freud succeeded in turning his models’ bodies into a painterly residue, recognizably human but still grossly material. His later paintings, from the late 1950s on, feature even broader and more expressive brushstrokes, and include a series of portraits of Freud’s friends and family, exhibiting his closest relationships. Freud passed away in London at the age of 88.

Timeline

1922
Born in Berlin, Germany
1931
Moved to England with his parents
1933–1938
Attended Dartington Hall School near Totnes, Devon then at Bryanston
1939
Acquired British nationality
1939–1942
Attended Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, UK
Studied at the East Anglican School of Painting and Drawing, Dedham under Cedric Morris
1951
Receives Purchase Prize from Arts Council of Great Britain for Interior in Paddington exhibited in Sixty Paintings for '51 as part of the Festival of Britain.
1949–1954
Visiting tutor at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK
1993
Awarded the Order of Merit

Exhibitions

2012
Lucian Freud: Drawings, Blain Southern, London (solo)
2010
Lucian Freud: L'Atelier, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (solo)
2008
Major Prints, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Small Format, Faggionato Fine Arts, London, UK
2007
Paiting Now! - Back to Figuration, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2006
Popart and after, Galerie Haas AG, Zurich, Switzerland
PAPER, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2005
Creative Tenison: British Art 1900-1950, The Fine Art Society, London, UK
2004
Lucian Freud: Etchings 1964-2004, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Scotland (solo)
Matisee to Freud: A Critic’s Choice, The Alexander Walker Bequest, The British Museum, London, UK
Fresh Works on Paper, 5th Anniversary Exhibition, James Kelly Contemporary, Sante Fe, NM
Art of the Garden, Tate Britain, Linbudy Galleries, London, UK (catalogue)
2003
Lucian Freud: Drawings 1940, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, UK (solo)
Drawings 1940, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY (catalogue) (solo)
Important Works on Paper & Ceramics, Rex Irwin, Sydney, Australia
Portraiture, Karyn Love Grove Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2002
Lucian Freud, Tate Britain, London, UK; traveled to Fundació La Caixa, Barcelona, Spain and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (catalogue) (solo)
Lucian Freud: Prints, Städtisches Kunstmuseum Spendhaus, Reutlingen, Germany (catalogue) (solo)
The Nude in Twentieth Century Art, Kunsthalle in Emden, Emden, Germany
2001
Lucian Freud, Naked Portraits, Works from the 1940s to the 1990s, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany (catalogue) (solo)
Tenth Anniversary Exhibition, 100 Drawings and Photographs, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY (catalogue)
2000
Etchings, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY (catalogue) (solo)
Lucian Freud: Recent Work, 1997-2000, Acquavella Contemporary Art, Inc., New York, NY (catalogue) (solo)
A New Painting, White Cube, London, UK (solo)
Twentieth-Century Art, Acquavella Contemporary Art, Inc., New York, NY
La Mirada Fuerte: Pintura Figurativa de Londres, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, Mexico
The School of London and Their Friends: The Collection of Elaine and Melvin Merians, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT; traveled to Neuberger Museum of Art, State University of New York, Purchase, NY (catalogue)
Encounters: New Art from Old, National Gallery, London, UK (catalogue)
Auerbach, Bacon, Freud, Kossoff, Blaine Fine Art, London, UK (catalogue)
1999
Lucian Freud, Etchings from the 1990s, Marlborough Graphics, Ltd., London, UK (catalogue) (solo)
Lucian Freud, Etchings from the Paine Webber Art Collection, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT; traveled to Museumof Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston, Houston, TX; Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA; and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA (catalogue) (solo)
Regarding Beauty, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; traveled to Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (catalogue)
1998
Lucian Freud, Some New Paintings, Tate Gallery, London, UK (catalogue) (solo)
Lucian Freud, Paintings and Drawings, Theo Waddington Fine Art, London, UK (solo)
L’Ecole de Londres: de Bacon á Bevan, Fondation Dina Vierny-Musée Maillol, Paris, France; traveled to Santiago de Compostella, Spain; and Vienna (catalogue)
Sargent to Freud: Modern British Painting and Drawing in the Beaverbrook Art Collection, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada; traveled to Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, UK; and Canada House, London, UK (catalogue)
1997
Lucian Freud, Early Works, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK (catalogue) (solo)
Lucian Freud, Radierungen, Rubenspreis der Stadt Siegen, Haus Orienstrasse-Adolf-Sänger-Stiftung, Ausstellungsforum des Siegerlandmuseums, Siegen, Germany (catalogue) (solo)
1996
Thinking Print: From Books to Billboards, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1987–1988
Retrospective exhibition organised by the British Council at the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; traveled to Paris, France, London, UK, and Berlin, Germany
1974
Lucian Freud: Retrospective, Arts Council of Great Britain at the Hayward Gallery, London, UK
1954
Represented Britain at the 27th Venice Biennale of Art with Ben Nicholson and Francis Bacon, Venice, Italy
1944
First one-man exhibition at Alex Reid and Lefevre Gallery, London, UK

Public Collections

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
National Gallery of Canada, Ontario, Canada
Museo Botero, Bogota, Colombia
Tate Britain, London, UK
National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL