The ingenious painter Lucian Michael Freud was born on 8 December 1922 in Berlin, German, son of Jewish; he is the grandson of Sigmund Freud.
Freud and his family moved to the U.K. in 1933 to escape the rise of Nazism, and gained British citizenship in 1939.
Freud is one of the best known British artists working in a traditional representational style, and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989. According to the Sunday Telegraph of 1 September 2002, he is rumoured to have up to 40 illegitimate children, acknowledging them when they have become adults.
Freud’s early paintings are often associated with surrealism and depict people and plants in unusual juxtapositions. These works are usually painted with quite thin paint, but from the 1950s he began to paint portraits, often nudes, to the almost complete exclusion of everything else, and began to use a thicker impasto. With this technique he would often clean his brush after each stroke. The colours in these paintings are typically muted. Often Freud’s portraits just depict the sitter, sometimes sprawled naked on the floor or on a bed, but sometimes the sitter is juxtaposed with something else, as in Girl With a White Dog and Naked Man With Rat. Freud’s subjects are often the people in his life: lovers, friends, family, fellow painters and his (many!) children. To quote the artist: “The subject matter is autobiographical, it’s all to do with hope and memory and sensuality and involvement, really.”
His painting After Cezanne, which is notable because of its unusual shape, was bought by the National Gallery of Australia for $7.4 million. The top left section of this painting has been ‘grafted’ on to the main section below, and closer inspection reveals a horizontal line where these two sections were joined.
“I paint people,” Freud has said, “not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be.” Freud has painted a number of fellow artists, including Frank Auerbach and Francis Bacon.