Freud's art to hang with the greats

An historic art collection, which has been on display for the past 100 years, is being removed to make way for a major new exhibition by Lucian Freud, Britain's pre-eminent living artist.

An historic art collection, which has been on display for the past 100 years, is being removed to make way for a major new exhibition by Lucian Freud, Britain's pre-eminent living artist.

The Wallace Collection was unable to fit a show of such size - up to 18 new paintings - into the area reserved for temporary exhibitions, so staff opted to move the regular exhibits to make way for Freud's latest works.

It is the first time the gallery has removed its prized works on such a scale for a living painter since the collection opened in 1900.

Freud was keen to show his work at the central London gallery prior to it being displayed in New York in May. The three-week exhibition, Lucian Freud: Latest Paintings, opens on Wednesday and features Freud's nudes, whippets, a horse and a number of family members.

But the fiercely private 81-year-old painter also wanted to have his work displayed near the greats - an adjacent gallery holds works by Van Dyck, Velasquez and Reynolds, and The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals.

The curator of the Freud exhibition, William Feaver, said: "Basically this is work he has done since the retrospective at Tate Britain two years ago. He has worked fairly intensively."

The new paintings will be hung tomorrow, and Freud may deliver a painting he has been working feverishly to complete over this weekend, of his assistant David Dawson.

Photographs of Freud in the studio, taken by Dawson, will form an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, which opens on Tuesday.

Lucian Freud: Latest Paintings is at the Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, from 31 March to 18 April; admission is free.

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