Seen as one of the most influential painters of the 20th century, Lucian Freud painted what he saw and what he knew. His autobiographical works took his family, friends and favourite locations as their subject. This intensely private artist specialised in figurative, expressionist art, despite abstract painting being the style de jour at the time he was working. Freud is the grandson of the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud.
Lucian Freud was born in Berlin in 1922, then his Jewish family moved to London when he was 11 to avoid persecution by the Nazi government. He attended the Central School of Art and Goldsmiths College in London, as well as Cedric Morris’ East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham. His early works were associated with German Expressionism and Surrealism, showing as they did their subjects in unexpected positions and places. Later works focused on nudes, which were especially renowned for creating layers of texture and tone for depicting flesh. It frequently took him several hundred hours of sketching, painting and communication with a subject to complete a nude painting. In 1995, his painting ‘Benefits Supervisor Sleeping’ (also known as ‘Big Sue’) sold for a world-record auction price for a living artist of $33.6 million at Christie’s in New York. Freud died aged 88 in 2011, in London.