For those unfamiliar with the life and work of Lucien Freud, grandson of Sigmund Freud, the obituary in the Jerusalem Post is very informative. His death was announced on July 21st. The Cleveland Museum of Art owns just four of his paintings, which supports the view that the artist is less well-received in the United States than in Europe, although critics on both continents consider Freud to be an outstanding realist painter of protraits. Starr Figura, curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York explains his appeal. “I think his work is very charged, and it is quite disturbing to look at. That’s what gives people a problem and that’s what gives his work power and fascination. His work is incredibly personal, and that comes through. On the other hand it is also very detached and critical and that is what makes it so intense.”
Among the many other articles written about the painter, the New York Times article and the article in The Guardian contain numerous examples of his work. One of the best sources from which to learn his style and methods is a documentary in three parts available on YouTube. The documentary was begun in 2002, after the Tate Britain put on a retrospective of Freud’s work. Since the artist rarely gave interviews, the creator of the documentary interviewed his models, most of whom were friends and colleagues and a few family members. The documentary is well worth the 40 minutes it takes to view.