Celia Sierra |
Madrid (EFE).- Gritty, expressive and author of some of the most evocative portraits of the 20th century, Lucian Freud disembarks in Madrid on the occasion of the centenary of his birth with a retrospective in which the Thyssen Museum encourages us to avoid the darkest chapters of his life and focus on the intimacy of his portraits.
Lucian Freud. New Perspectives” comes from the National Gallery of London composed of fifty works. It opens its doors until June 18.
The English painter, grandson of the illustrious founder of psychoanalysis, was a celebrity before he was a painter. He, too, was a frustrated merchant sailor, “bon vivant” of the London nightlife and father of fifteen recognized children and, according to legend, as many unrecognized ones.
His atypical and busy biography, Guillermo Solana, director of the museum, has recognized today, has sometimes overshadowed his unique work. More was said about his numerous partners, “his tormented private life” or his sexual life than about his unique painting.
The museum eschews this “sensationalist approach” in favor of an exhibition that delves into its ability to portray intimacy in its works and the connection with its models.
“What do I ask of painting? I ask you to amaze, disturb, seduce, convince”, said the artist.
praise of slowness
“Freud is a slow painter -he worked for months on each painting- and we should also respond with a slow gaze”, explained one of the curators of the exhibition, Paloma Alarcó, encouraging visitors to look carefully at every detail of the paintings. selected pieces.
The English painter, of German origin, only portrayed acquaintances -friends, relatives and people around him-, and he always did so in his studio, a space where chaos and disorder reigned, and to which the exhibition opens a window in a photography room.
At first his works are “hieratic, highly detailed portraits” and small in format, but over the years “a looser and more impastoed brushstroke” appears, which has its peak in the last years of his life, with paintings of nude figures. large-format that sometimes “disturb, but convince”.
“I want the painting to act as if it were meat”, the artist used to say.
The exhibition tries to highlight the painter’s ability to evoke emotions such as affection, friendship or affection. On the tour, arranged chronologically, you can see several double portraits, such as that of his friend Michael Andrews and his wife June, that of two of his daughters, Bella and Esther, or “Two Men”, in which the artist Angus appears. Cook and Cerith Wyn Evans.
You can also see two portraits of Baron Thyssen, several works by his second wife, Caroline Blackwood, and portraits of colleagues such as David Hockney or his assistant David Dawson (heir to his legacy).
The last work that Freud painted, which is unfinished, has also been included in the exhibition. It shows his assistant David Dawson and his dog, a greyhound.
“He liked to portray the relationship between animals and their owners, the relationship between human and animal skin and how that contact was made,” said the artist’s assistant, who attended the opening of the exhibition in Madrid today. .
Other well-known portraits of the painter are those he did of a pregnant Kate Moss, of Queen Elizabeth of England -a small-format portrait that has received little praise-, or several of his self-portraits.
The Painter and Baron Thyssen
The relationship with the baron was so close that the museum has three works by the painter in its collection, one of them a portrait of the aristocrat. Francesca Thyssen has today announced the donation of a second portrait of her father, which can also be seen in the exhibition.
“My children and I lived with that work for ten years in my apartment in Vienna (…) After seeing it in the context of this exhibition I have decided to donate it to the museum”, said the baron’s daughter, who has remembered how when the price of the painter shot up at auctions could not afford to pay the insurance to have it at home -a painting by the painter reached 29 million dollars in 2017 at auction-.