Lucian Michael Freud [1866-1944]

Man’s Head (Self Portrait III)
British painter and draughtsman

Lucian Michael Freud

was born,

December 8, 1922

in Berlin

Freud specialized in figurative art. One of the foremost 20th-century portraitists. He was the son of Jewish architect Ernst L. Freud and the grandson of Sigmund Freud.
His early career as a painter was influenced by surrealism, but by the early 1950s his often stark and alienated paintings tended towards realism. Freud was an intensely private and guarded man, and his paintings, completed over a 60-year career, are mostly of friends and family. They are generally sombre and thickly impastoed, often set in unsettling interiors and urban landscapes. The works are noted for their psychological penetration and often discomforting examination of the relationship between artist and model. Freud worked from life studies, and was known for asking for extended and punishing sittings from his models.

“I work from the people that interest me, and that I care about, in rooms that I live in and know. I use the people to invent my pictures, and I can work more freely when they are there.”

Of course I have to mention his fondness for animals. Throughout his life he had dogs. His two whippets appear in many of his paintings.

So here’s a glimpse of his work & words
Double Portrait

“The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes and, ironically, the more real.”

Girl in a Green Dress

“The character of the artist doesn’t enter into the nature of the art. Eliot said that art is the escape from personality. We know that Velazquez embezzled money from the Spanish court and wanted power and so on, but you can’t see this in his art.”


“Full, saturated colours have an emotional significance I want to avoid.”

Cedric Morris

“The only way I could work properly was by using the absolute maximum of observation and concentration that I could possible muster.”

Girl with Beret

“Now that I know what I want, I don’t have to hold on to it quite so much.”

Interior at Paddington

“A moment of complete happiness never occurs in the creation of a work of art. The promise of it is felt in the act of creation but disappears towards the completion of the work. For it is then the painter realises that it is only a picture he is painting. Until then he had almost dared to hope the picture might spring to life.”

Guy and Speck

“Were it not for this [dissatisfaction], the perfect painting might be painted, on the completion of which the painter could retire. It is this great insufficiency that drives him on. The process of creation becomes necessary to the painter perhaps more than it is in the picture. The process is in fact habit-forming.”

Portrait of a Woman

“The painter must give a completely free rein to any feeling or sensations he may have and reject nothing to which he is naturally drawn.”

The Painter’s Brother, Stephen

“I use the gallery as if it were a doctor. I come for ideas and help – to look at situations within painting, rather than paintings.”

Still Life with Squid and Sea Urchin

“As far as I am concerned the paint is the person. I want it to work for me just as flesh does.”

Woman with a Daffodil

“If all the qualities which a painter took from the model for his picture were really taken, no person could be painted twice.”

Kingcups, Souvenir of Glen Artney
Small Head
Girl with Roses

“I remember Francis Bacon would say that he felt he was giving art what he thought it previously lacked. With me, it’s what Yeats called the fascination with what’s difficult. I’m only trying to do what I can’t do.”

Francis Bacon
Standing by the Rags

“The problem with painting a nude… is that it deepens the transaction. You can scrap a painting of someone’s face and it imperils the sitter’s self-esteem less than scrapping a painting of the whole naked body.”

Girl in a Striped Nightshirt

“It is through observation and perception of atmosphere that he [the artist] can register the feeling that he wishes his painting to give out.”

Two Plants

“The painter’s obsession with his subject is all that he needs to drive him to work.”

Triple Portrait

“I would wish my portraits to be of the people, not like them. Not having a look of the sitter, being them.”

Head of a Man 1991

“I am only interested in painting the actual person, in doing a painting of them, not in using them to some ulterior end of art.”

Boy Smoking

“The task of the artist is to make the human being uncomfortable.”

The Painter’s Mother IV
Palm Tree
Welsh Landscape

“What do I ask of a painting? I ask it to astonish, disturb, seduce, convince.”

Double Portrait
Girl with a Kitten [Tate]
Dead Cock’s Head
Interior with Plant, Reflection Listening, (Self-portrait)
Hand Mirror on Chair

“A painter’s tastes must grow out of what so obsesses him in life that he never has to ask himself what it is suitable for him to do in art.”

Hotel Bedroom
Man with a Feather
Girl with a White Dog [Tate]

“There is a distinction between fact and truth. Truth has an element of revelation about it. If something is true, it does more than strike one as merely being so.”

Leigh Bowery [Tate]
Woman’s Head with a Yellow Background

“Since the model… is not going to be hung up next to the picture… it is of no interest whether it is an accurate copy… The model should only serve the very private function for the painter of providing the starting point for his excitement.”

Reflection with Two Children (Self-portrait)
Self-portrait, Reflection



Self Portrait

As I mentioned in my December post

Finnish composer and violinist

Jean Sibelius [1865-1957]

was born this month and his birthday coincides with Lucian Freud’s

so we listen to his

Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 47

with Nigel Kennedy, violin

and Simon Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Jean Sibelius

I. Allegro moderato 00:00
II. Adagio di molto 16:19
III. Allegro ma non troppo 24:32

For more information on Freud:


Be Safe

21 replies »

  1. I’d read another article about Lucien Freud, but it didn’t feature all of the art. His work is fascinating, as are his quotes about painting, some of which apply to writing as well.

  2. Didn’t know about this artist. Interesting about him being Sigmund’s grandson.
    His faces are very unique. The dogs are wonderful!
    I like what he says is about the longer you look at something the more abstract it becomes. I’ve had that experience.
    I enjoyed the music, but there was no sound after about 32 minutes, yet it kept loading.
    Marina, this is a wonderful post. Thank you for the education, and the eye candy!
    Love to Hera woxoxoxof!
    Love to you!

Happy to hear your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.