Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits, at the Royal Academy of Arts

Bridgeman Images is the copyright licensing partner of the Lucian Freud Archive.

Reflection (Self Portrait), 1985 (oil on canvas), Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

The first comprehensive exhibition of Lucian Freud’s self-portraits opened on the 27th October and runs until the 26th January 2020 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and is set to be the most thorough and intimate exploration of Freud’s self-portraiture to date.

Credit: Self Portrait as Actaeon, 1949 (pen & ink on paper), Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Not only will Freud’s painted self-portraits be presented, but drawings and prints produced over his 70 year career will also be on display. David Dawson, Freud’s longtime assistant, (also represented by Bridgeman Copyright) co-curated the show with guest curator Jasper Sharp. Dawson’s influence is sure to produce an insightful show that traces the artist’s creative and personal development throughout his lifetime.

Credit: Reflection with Two Children (Self Portrait), 1965 (oil on canvas), Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid, Spain / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

On the 6th November David Dawson will be giving a talk alongside Jenny Saville RA at the Royal Academy to offer their personal insights into the role that self-portraiture played in Freud’s development as an artist.

Self Portrait: Reflection, 1996 (etching on paper), Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

The self-portraits are essential to understand the ways in which Freud’s visual language developed over his career with an increasing preoccupation for his own portrayal. Whilst self-portraiture naturally provides an artist with the opportunity to reflect, Freud’s work also reveals an exploration of methods and media in the formation of his stylistic vocabulary. His self-portraits of the late ‘40s and ‘50s were calculated and meticulously painted up-close. However, by the 1960s his style is painterly and decidedly freer in the brushwork as his mastery of light begins to evolve. 

Man with a Feather (Self Portrait) 1943 (oil on canvas), Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Freud’s portraiture reveals an evolution of both style and form, but inherently it reveals the passage of time. The artist himself remains almost elusive; he painted his likeness using only mirrors and avoided photographs, emphasising an element of transiency within each work. But collectively, his portraits are highly temporal and exhibit a lifetime of artistic reflection and study.

Interior with Hand Mirror (Self Portrait), 1967 (oil on canvas), Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Bridgeman Images was proud to be appointed by the Lucian Freud Archive (LFA) to administer and license the copyright and reproduction rights in Lucian Freud's artwork. The LFA (set up by the artist and his representatives before his death in 2011) has also placed its extensive archive of photography of the artist's work with Bridgeman for licensing. This contains exceptional quality high resolution digital photography taken in recent years to produce a complete record of the artist's work. 

Interior with Plant, Reflection Listening (Self Portrait), 1967-68 (oil on canvas), Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
Private Collection / © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

This exhibition is truly not to be missed, and due to demand the Royal Academy has extended its opening hours. The RA are also hosting an array of events surrounding the show, providing a deeper and accessible insight into the show.


Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits on now until 26th January 2020 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.
 

Read more about Lucian Freud on Bridgeman Images.


 
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