Picture preview: Lucian Freud drawings


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The Independent Culture

This week an exhibition of British painter Lucian Freud's drawings opens at the Blain|Southern gallery in London, staged to coincide with the major exhibition of his work at the National Portrait Gallery.

Dating back to the 1940s and spanning the artist’s career, Lucian Freud: Drawings brings together more than 100 works, several of which have never been shown in public before. Curator William Feaver worked closely with the artist on this exhibition in the five years preceding his death in July 2011. 

Freud always prided himself on his drawing, according to Feaver, who believes that the "interplay between the works on paper, both drawings and etchings, and the paintings of the past 70 years" was crucial to his artistic achievement.

The works range from the intimate, including portraits of his mother and father, his children and close friends - among them the painter Francis Bacon - to landscapes and studies of animals. Etchings, watercolours, gouaches and works rendered in chalk, charcoal, pastel, conté, and pen and ink, are to be interspersed with oil paintings, constantly interrelating.

"From childhood there were drawings of goblins and fairies, tables piled high and the pear tree outside the Freuds’ holiday home on the Baltic island of Hiddensee," Feaver said.

"Later came fantastical jeux d’espirit, sharp images of friends patient enough to sit for him, etchings and drawings demonstrating his love of Ingres."

The exhibition traces Freud’s development from this phase up to the early 1950s when he chose to concentrate primarily on his painting; although, a number of previously unexhibited drawings vividly demonstrate, he continued to draw. It also covers his return to etching in the 1980s.

From 17 February to 5 April 2012, www.blainsouthern.com