Tuesday, September 20, 2011

NPG announces details of Lucian Freud Portraits Exhibition 2012

Reflection (Self-portrait), 1985
Private Collection, Ireland © Lucian Freud.
Image: Courtesy Lucian Freud Archive
The Lucian Freud Portraits Exhibition which opens at the National Portrait Gallery in February 2012 will include Lucian Freud's last portrait.  The exhibition is the result of many years planning in partnership with the late Lucian Freud who died on 20 July 2011.  It's also the most ambitious show of his work in ten years.

The exhibition will include:
  • over 100 paintings and works on paper loaned from museums and private collections throughout the world
  • his last portrait - Portrait of the Hound 2011, the unfinished nude painting of Freud’s assistant David Dawson with his dog Eli
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.
Large Interior, W11 (after Watteau), 1981-3
Private Collection © Lucian Freud

The portraits in the exhibition are a wide variety of sitters - although there is an emphasis on:
  • family members - his mother Lucie, wives, lovers and children
  • artists such as Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Michael Andrews, John Minton and David Hockney
  • paintings of the performance artist Leigh Bowery and his friend Sue Tilley, the ‘Benefits Supervisor’.  The latter was immortalised by Freud in a series of monumental paintings in the 1990s - one of which Benefits Supervisor Sleeping was sold at Christies for a record sum for a living artist ($33.6 million)
  • 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.
Other sitters are less frequent and the ones included in the exhibition will include the photographer Harry Diamond (Interior at Paddington); Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire (Woman in a white shirt); Andrew Parker Bowles; Baron Rothschild; Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza and Francis Wyndham.  Some of these you can see in the DVD about his portraits 

The exhibition has been long in the planning not least because of the need to negotiate loans from a wide variety of museums and corporate collections worldwide (including the Tate, MOMA New York, Thyssen-Bornemisza, MadridArt Institute of Chicago and the British Council) as well as private collections.

I'm personally hoping that it will not just be portraits as paintings but that it will have also a good proportion of his drawings and fine art prints as these are also very fine.

Details about the Lucian Freud Portraits Exhibition

Lucian Freud Portraits - has its own microsite on the National Portrait Gallery website
Exhibition dates:  From 9 February until 27 May 2012
Location:  National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place WC2H 0HE,

How to book/purchase a ticket 

There are a variety of costs of admission which you can see here.  Basically admission for an adult who is not a member of the NPG will cost £14.

The NPG highly recommends:
  • Advance booking for this exhibition, especially for peak times such as Saturday and Sunday. 
  • Arriving early to secure one of the limited amount of tickets "available on the day" from the Information Desk
  • Book online - Click here to book tickets online (transaction fee applies)
  • By phone - Call 0844 248 5033 (transaction fee applies).  Can be purchased up to 18.00 on the day before your visit.
  • In person - Tickets can be purchased (subject to availability) from the Information Desk in the Ondaatje Wing Main Hall.
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.
  • sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch 
The current Tate Britain Special Display of a selection of paintings by Lucian Freud finishes on Sunday 25th September.

Note:  For more information see Lucian Freud - Resources for Art Lovers

Lucian Freud Portraits on Tour to the USA

Lucian Freud Portraits will be exhibited at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas, United States, from 2 July until 28 October 2012

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