Sigmund Freud’s grandson, Lucian Freud, turned 85 last week. The “junior” Freud has made a name for himself not as a psychoanalyst, as the elder Freud’s daughter Anna did, but as a painter. This is all the more surprising given that Lucian’s artistic style been realist through an era when representationalism was mostly “out” and various species of abstractionism and expressionism were “in.”
The New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has mounted an exhibit of over 100 of his painting, and the New York Times has published a review of it, authored by Robert Smith. Smith writes of Freud’s work:
His strenuously worked surfaces portray bodies and faces in ways that convey a punishing sense of life lived — of too, too solid flesh weighed down by experience, indulgence and cowardice. His canvases never let us lose sight of the effort required to get the painting painted. The rough, slathered expanses offer unstinting views of flesh, thick and folded, or stretched thin over all-too-visible bones, of faces sad or pensive or blank. The portrayals are physical but not sensuous, harsh yet intensely engaged — the painterly equivalent of tough love.
The MoMA webpage dedicated to the exhibit can be found here.