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Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits

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The artist stripped bare by himself: Lucian Freud’s self-portraits redefine the genreIn  1964 Lucian Freud set his students at the Norwich College of Art an  assignment: to paint naked self-portraits and to make them “revealing,  telling, believable ... really shameless.” It was advice that the artist  was often to follow himself. Visceral, unflinching and often nude,  Freud’s self-portraits chart his biography and give us an insight into  the development of his style.

These paintings provide the viewer  with a constant reminder of the artist’s overwhelming presence, whether  he is confronting the viewer directly or only present as a shadow or in a  reflection. Freud’s exploration of the self-portrait is unexpected and  wide-ranging. In this volume, essays by leading authorities, including  those who knew him, explore Freud’s life and work, and analyze the  importance of self-portraiture in his practice.

Lucian Freud  was born in Germany in 1922, and permanently relocated to London in  1933 during the ascent of the Nazi regime. After seeing brief service  during World War II, Freud had his first solo exhibition in 1944 at the  Alex Reid & Lefevre Gallery in London. Despite exhibiting only  occasionally over the course of his career, Freud's 1995 portrait Benefits Supervisor Sleeping  was sold at auction, at Christie's New York in May 2008, for $33.6  million, setting a world record for sale value of a painting by a living  artist. Freud died in London in 2011.


  • Publisher :  Royal Academy of Arts (December 3, 2019) 
  • Language :  English 
  • Hardcover :  160 pages