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National Portrait Gallery announces Lucian Freud portraits exhibition in February 2012
Lucian Freud, Girl with a White Dog, 1950-1. Purchased 1952 © Tate, London 2012
LONDON.- The last work of the late Lucian Freud will go on show for the first time at the most ambitious exhibition of the artist’s work for ten years, opening at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in February 2012.

The inclusion of Portrait of the Hound 2011, the unfinished nude painting of Freud’s assistant David Dawson with his dog Eli, will enable exhibition visitors for the first time to see the artist’s most important portraits from the earliest in the 1940s to the one he was painting shortly before his death on 20 July 2011.

With over 100 paintings and works on paper loaned from museums and private collections throughout the world, Lucian Freud Portraits is the result of many years’ planning by the Gallery in close partnership with the late Lucian Freud. The exhibition will be the first to focus on his portraiture and is a countdown event for the London 2012 Festival – the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.

Concentrating on particular periods and groups of sitters to show Freud’s stylistic development and technical virtuosity, the exhibition will include both iconic and rarely-seen portraits of the artist’s lovers, friends and family. Described by the artist as ‘people in my life’, these portraits have been selected to demonstrate the psychological drama and unrelenting observational intensity of his work.

Sitters represented in the exhibition include family members, particularly his mother Lucie, and artists such as Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Michael Andrews, John Minton and David Hockney, and the performance artist Leigh Bowery. Bowery’s friend Sue Tilley, the ‘Benefits Supervisor’, who was immortalised by Freud in a series of monumental paintings in the 1990s, is also included in the exhibition. As well as major portraits of key muses such as Bowery, his mother and family, the exhibition will highlight the recurring importance of the self-portrait in Freud’s work.

Others exhibited sitters include photographer Harry Diamond, Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, Andrew Parker Bowles, Baron Rothschild, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza and Francis Wyndham.

Loans have been drawn from private collections and museums worldwide including Tate, MOMA New York, Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, British Council and Art Institute of Chicago.

Lucian Freud Portraits is curated by Sarah Howgate, the National Portrait Gallery’s Curator of Contemporary Portraits, whose previous exhibitions include David Hockney Portraits, a retrospective of the artist’s works at the National Portrait Gallery, London, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘The National Portrait Gallery is delighted to bring together so many outstanding portraits created by one of the great artists of our time. Lucian Freud painted people with an inquisitive brilliance. We are also very pleased to be continuing our relationship with Bank of America Merrill Lynch who return to us after sponsoring our 2010 Irving Penn Portraits exhibition.’

National Portrait Gallery | Lucian Freud |


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