Freudian economics

Lucian Freud is 75 and arguably the nation's greatest living painter, yet he hasn't quite become the grand old man that this description might suggest. Far from it in fact. For all his celebrity and grandeur something about him has always been a bit close to the edge. On one hand he's a kind of national treasure, feted in high places and the only artist holder of the Order of Merit (a rare honour shared with the likes of Nelson Mandela and Yehudi Menuhin). On the other, he remains a dark and rather mysterious character aligned through his models - the late Leigh Bowery and Big Sue Tilley - to a kind of bohemian club culture. It is a curious contradiction, but one that reminds us that Freud is as much of a contemporary artist as any of the current crop of young fashionables that could be his grandchildren.

Doubtless this sounds rather obvious, but the point is that Freud has been making remarkable pictures for well over 50 years and the work that he makes now is every bit as true to its time as were the hard-edged, hollow-eyed, portraits that he painted after the war.

His latest pictures went on show in London earlier this week: all of them painted since 1992 and most of them in the last three years. It's a fine selection which includes a number of the large, unflinching nudes that have dominated his recent output, alongside some surprisingly intimate smaller works such as Lost Head of Leigh Bowery and Esther and Albie, a study of his grandchild at the breast.

It's exactly the sort of show that would normally be staged by an artist's dealer under the title "Recent Work", but because he's Freud it's Some New Paintings and the venue is the Tate Gallery. He hasn't had a London dealer for many years, nor does he seem to need one, as most of his work sells overseas as soon as it leaves the studio. As if to prove the point, almost all of these paintings have been borrowed back from America - it's worth seeing them now before they disappear for good.

Lucian Freud, Some New Paintings, The Tate Gallery, Millbank, London SW1 (0171-887 8000) to 26 July

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
News
news
Sport
Lewis Hamilton with the Santander trophy after winning last year’s British Grand Prix
F1It's the race organisers who are to blame, apparently
News
peopleFormer Disney CEO isn't going to win any fans with this quote
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

    Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test