Monday, November 16, 2015

Lucian Freud Archive of Sketchbooks and Drawings gifted to the nation

A Lucian Freud Archive of sketchbooks and drawings has been gifted to the nation by The Estate of Lucian Freud in settlement of £2,940,000 Inheritance Tax following the artist's death in 2011. 

The Archive comprises
  • 47 Sketchbooks spanning his career from the mid-1940s up until his death
  • additional drawings; 
  • a collection of 162 childhood drawings and 
  • a collection of letters from Lucian Freud
A Sketchbook Drawing from the Archive of Lucian Freud
allocated to the National Portrait Gallery, London,
as part of the Arts Council England’s Acceptance in Lieu Scheme
Copyright: The Lucian Freud Archive
The Freud Archive's permanent home will be the National Portrait Gallery which hosted a fantastic exhibition of his portraits in 2012 - Lucian Freud Portraits. It became the Gallery’s most visited ticketed exhibition. 

See my blog posts about the 2012 posthumous exhibitions about Lucian Freud which all opened in London in February 2012
I now know what the "very exciting exhibition" next year that the NPG staff could not tell me about last week! The National Portrait Gallery plans to:
  • make the archive, which has never been published or exhibited, accessible to the public.
  • display a selection of representative items from the archive in early summer 2016. 

The Lucian Freud Archive

Lucian Freud (1922 – 2011) was one of the most important and influential artists of his generation. 

The importance of the Archive is that it will:
  • invaluable insight into his working practice - several drawings show the beginnings of portraits, such as Lord Goodman’s, often starting with the nose and eyes before developing outwards.
  • how he used his sketchbooks - he apparently used them as they came to hand rather than in any chornological or or thematic sequence. One of the sketchbooks – originally an 18th Century ledger – contains drawings of Caroline Blackwood that relate to Freud’s early masterpiece Hotel Bedroom, 1954. 
  • be a major resource for the study of his work - they enable researchers to trace the evolution of Freud’s portraits from the stage of initial conception.
  • extend its understanding of the artist’s portrait work - the archive includes numerous studies which relate to major works by Freud now in significant collections. 
  • give added context to the two works by Freud in the Gallery’s Collection, a 1963 self-portrait in oils and a charcoal drawing of Lord Goodman. 
  • compliment the Gallery's portraits of Lucian Freud including 
    • a FrankAuerbach etching; and 
    • an extensive collection of photographs by David Dawson, Bruce Bernard, Cecil Beaton and others.

The Childhood Drawings

The collection of childhood drawings by Freud date back to when lived in Germany, before his family fled to England in 1933 when Hitler came to power. 

His mother used to keep and archive all his childhoold drawings which she then annotated with a date to indicate his age at the time he drew them and a place to remind where they were living at the time. I saw a number of them in the exhibition of his drawings at the exhibition of Lucian Freud Drawings opens at Blain|Southern Gallery - and was extremely impressed. They're absolutely fascinating - and you can see some of them in my review of the exhibition

The Acceptance in Lieu scheme

  • The Acceptance in Lieu Panel advises on whether property "accepted in lieu" is of suitable importance and offered at a value which is fair to both nation and taxpayer. 
  • AIL enables taxpayers to pay inheritance tax by transferring important works of art and other important heritage objects into public ownership. 
  • The taxpayer is given the full open market value of the item, which then becomes the property of a public museum, archive or library. 
  • In the last five years (2010 -14) the scheme has bought objects to the value of £150m into public collections (see the Cultural Gifts Scheme and Acceptance in Lieu Report 2014)

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