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Lucian Freud in his studio, photo by EPA
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WHY ARTISTS YOU DON’T LOVE CAN STILL BE GREAT
by Jerry Saltz



Before saying why Lucian Freud, who died yesterday, is the strangest case of my own personal artistic taste, let’s first remember a few things. It is difficult to imagine anyone in the profoundly homogenous, deeply tribal English art world of the mid-twentieth century becoming as well-known and respected an artist as the German-born grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, someone with the last name Freud. It’s like being a Plato, as unthinkable as a Rockefeller's becoming a famous bohemian Abstract Expressionist in fifties America. As if the burden of a royal bloodline were not enough, few world-renowned artists strike me as having less inborn talent than Freud. His genius, such as it is, seems the direct result of someone willing himself to accomplishment.

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